Tesco hit with potential £4bn legal challenge for equal pay in UK Tesco hit with potential £4bn legal challenge for equal pay in UK

Tesco hit with potential £4bn legal challenge for equal pay in UK
18 Jul 2018

More than 1,000 Tesco shop workers are taking part in a legal challenge to secure equal pay, which could see the supermarket chain having to fork out as much as £4 billion (US$5.3 billion).

On top of the 100 who started legal action in February, the law firm Leigh Day has also just filed a further 900 claims at the Employment Tribunal. The shop workers, three-quarters of whom are women, say they earn up to £3 (US$4) an hour less than the mostly male Tesco warehouse workers in similar roles, which means a full-time distribution worker could earn as much as £5,000 (US$6,618) a year more.

Up to 200,000 shop floor staff could be affected by the claim, which could cost Tesco up to £20,000 (US$26,473) per worker in back-pay over at least six years.

Paula Lee, one of the lawyers handling the Tesco claims at Leigh Day, told The Guardian: "We’ve had an incredible response to the announcement of this legal action. Many proud members of staff have realised that this claim is not anti-Tesco, but it is to ensure that the work done in stores and distribution centres is recognised as being of equal value - not the same work, but work of equal value."

A Tesco spokesperson responded: "We cannot comment on an ongoing legal matter, but we will be defending this claim about equal pay. Tesco has always been a place for people to get on in their careers, regardless of their gender, background or education, and we work hard to make sure all our colleagues are paid fairly and equally for the jobs they do."

The Tesco case follows similar actions against the Asda and Sainsbury’s supermarket chains, which are currently working their way through the employment tribunal process. Nearly 20,000 people are involved in the Asda case, and about 1,000 in the Sainsbury’s action.

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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More than 1,000 Tesco shop workers are taking part in a legal challenge to secure equal pay, which could see the supermarket chain having to fork out as much as £4 billion (US$5.3 billion).

On top of the 100 who started legal action in February, the law firm Leigh Day has also just filed a further 900 claims at the Employment Tribunal. The shop workers, three-quarters of whom are women, say they earn up to £3 (US$4) an hour less than the mostly male Tesco warehouse workers in similar roles, which means a full-time distribution worker could earn as much as £5,000 (US$6,618) a year more.

Up to 200,000 shop floor staff could be affected by the claim, which could cost Tesco up to £20,000 (US$26,473) per worker in back-pay over at least six years.

Paula Lee, one of the lawyers handling the Tesco claims at Leigh Day, told The Guardian: "We’ve had an incredible response to the announcement of this legal action. Many proud members of staff have realised that this claim is not anti-Tesco, but it is to ensure that the work done in stores and distribution centres is recognised as being of equal value - not the same work, but work of equal value."

A Tesco spokesperson responded: "We cannot comment on an ongoing legal matter, but we will be defending this claim about equal pay. Tesco has always been a place for people to get on in their careers, regardless of their gender, background or education, and we work hard to make sure all our colleagues are paid fairly and equally for the jobs they do."

The Tesco case follows similar actions against the Asda and Sainsbury’s supermarket chains, which are currently working their way through the employment tribunal process. Nearly 20,000 people are involved in the Asda case, and about 1,000 in the Sainsbury’s action.

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

OTHER STORIES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU

Tesco hit with £4 billion equal pay claim

US forbids using salary history to pay female staff less than men

Ontario legislates for equal pay for equal work

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