British fashion retailer, Next, are set to face a £30 million equal pay claim from their shop assistants. If the employees are successful, the fashion retailer could be paying staff members up to six years’ of back pay.
Law firm, Pattinson & Brewer, are helping more than 300 shop assistants who are believed to have been paid 24% less than employees working in the warehouses. The majority of shop assistants are female whereas the warehouse workers are predominantly male. Warehouse staff are also believed to receive bonuses which shop assistants have never had access to.
Next currently employs around 45,000 and approximately 30,000 women work in their stores. It is reported the work which shop floor assistants carry out can be compared to those in the warehouses. This therefore means that the workers should receive the same level of pay. Currently, shop floor workers are paid around £7.50 an hour or on average £2 less than those working in the warehouses.
Employees who have left Next within the past six years can also be eligible to make a claim along with current workers. According to Pattinson & Brewer, who filed the claim with Acas, the average salary loss was around £6,000 for up to 3,000 to 5,000 affected staff members. This could result in Next paying up to £30 million if all staff members register to participate in the group claim.
Head of the employment law team at Pattinson & Brewer, Elizabeth George, stated: “There really aren’t many simpler legal concepts to grasp than this one – staff doing comparable jobs should be paid the same amount”.
“But when you look across every work sector, you will see work that is traditionally viewed as women’s work being undervalued”.
A Next spokesman has announced: “Next has not been notified by Acas on this matter and this is therefore currently unaware of any claims against it. The difference between working in a warehouse and a store at Next is, however, more significant than for any of the retailers now involved in litigation [such as Tesco and Asda]”.
British supermarket, Tesco, has also been recently involved in an equal pay claim worth £4 billion from their shop floor assistants. It is believed warehouse workers are earning on average between £8.50 to £11 an hour whereas store workers are earning around £8 an hour.
Manchester-based law firm, Leigh Day, are launching legal action on behalf of around 100 employees working for the supermarket. This means warehouse workers earn an estimated £5,000 more than staff members working in the stores.
To read more information on Tesco’s equal pay claim, click here.
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