Tesco Could Face £4 Billion Equal-Pay Claim
UK supermarket giant Tesco could be facing a £4 billion claim over a pay disparity between employees at its stores and distribution centres.
Law firm Leigh Day has announced that legal proceedings have begun in what it describes as “potentially the largest-ever equal-pay challenge in UK history”, which could cost the retailer billions in compensation.
The lawyers are arguing that employees working in the male-dominated distribution centres are paid as much as £3 per hour more than those in the largely female-staffed stores. This could lead to a difference of around £5,000 a year.
The law firm, which is also representing workers from Asda and Sainsbury’s in similar claims, says that this disparity could apply to over 200,000 Tesco employees.
“We believe an inherent bias has allowed store workers to be underpaid for many years,” said Paula Lee, the Leigh Day lawyer who is representing the Tesco staff in this claim.
“In terms of equal worth to the company, there really should be no argument that workers in stores, compared to those working in distribution centres, contribute at least equal value to the vast profits made by Tesco, which last year had group sales of £49.9 billion,” Lee added.
Tesco is currently the largest supermarket in the UK, according to the latest Kantar Worldpanel figures, with 27.8% market share. Last month, the retailer posted its eighth consecutive quarter of growth, with like-for-like sales up by 2.3% in its home market.
In response to today’s reports, a spokesperson for the supermarket group said that Tesco has “always been a place for people to get on in their career, 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”.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.