Leigh Day, Manchester based law firm, have recently launched legal action. Their recent case operates on behalf of around 100 Tesco employees. Staff are believed to earn up to £3 an hour less than their male colleagues. Tesco is expected to pay a potential bill of up to £4 billion; making it the UK’s most substantial equal pay claim.
The warehouse team working for Tesco earn on average between £8.50 to £11 per hour. Employees working in the Tesco stores earn on average £8 an hour in basic pay. Meaning annually, full-time distribution employees make roughly £5,000 more than store staff.
This case is very similar to ASDA who are currently in their employment tribunal process. Around 20,000 people are involved with the Asda case. The latest ruling backed employees’ rights working in the stores to compare their jobs to male employees in the distribution centres.
Before taking the case to the employment tribunal, Leigh Day submitted the Tesco employees claims through ACAS. It could result in Tesco paying a total of 200,000 shop floor staff up to £20,000 each in back pay over at least six years.
Leigh Day lawyer, Paula Lee has said: “We believe an inherent bias has allowed store workers to be underpaid over many years”. “There might be lifting and carrying in the distribution centre, but this happens in shops as well. On top of handling customers and money”.
It has been reported that females working in caring, cleaning, cashiering, catering, and clerical jobs are highly likely to be underpaid. So much so, female workers have taken legal action over claims male sanitation workers are paid more than them. Over 10,000 complaints from women were settled by Birmingham city council after they agreed to pay more than £1 billion.
Pam Jenkins has worked for Tesco in Hertfordshire for 26 years. She works nights on the shop floor and is paid on average £8 an hour. She took to pay a cut when Tesco lowered their premium pay rates for employees working Sunday shifts.
The fifty-seven-year-old said “Tesco is a good employer. They just need to get their facts right. They say they want everybody to be equal. It should be equal pay for equal value. I do feel let down and a bit miffed, to say the least.”
The supermarket has said they will think carefully about making changes to pay in partnership with the trade union which represents their shop floor staff, Usdaw.
“We are unable to comment on a claim that we have not received. Tesco has always been a place for people to get on in their career, regardless of their gender, background or education. We work hard to make sure all our colleagues are paid fairly for the jobs they do” states Tesco.
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