Published: Thu, February 08, 2018
Finance | By Gustavo Carr

Tesco Facing Record Equal Pay Claim of $5.6 Billion

Tesco Facing Record Equal Pay Claim of $5.6 Billion

The law firm has begun submitting claims through Acas, the conciliation service, as the first step before heading to the employment tribunal.

It said distribution centre staff may earn in excess of $15.40 an hour while the most common grade for store staff sees them receive around $11.12 an hour.

In June 2016, the Employment Tribunal found that lower paid female ASDA workers, also represented by Leigh Day, could compare themselves to higher paid men who work in ASDA's distribution centres.

Leigh Day said it was also now representing over 20,000 shop-floor workers in equal pay claims against fellow Big 4 retailers Sainsbury's and Asda, who both face similar legal challenges regarding discrepancies in pay between the male-dominated distribution centres and the mainly female-staffed stores.

Tesco (LON:TSCO) is potentially set to face a record £4 billion equal pay claim, according to a law firm representing many of its female store staff.

As many as 20,000 Tesco shopfloor staff could be affected by the claim, which it is estimated could cost the company up to £4bn based on each worker receiving up to £20,000 in back pay over a period of at least six years.

A Tesco spokesman said the firm had not yet received a claim.

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The Asda case involves almost 20,000 shopworkers and the most recent ruling backed their right to compare their jobs to those of their mostly male colleagues working in distribution centres.

Tesco has played down the lawsuit, saying it works hard to ensure all staff are paid "equally and fairly".

The demands come as the United Kingdom implements new rules requiring any company employing more than 250 people to disclose the disparity in pay between men and women by April, according to AP. In a separate development, the latest industry data revealed that Britain's biggest supermarket had remained the fastest growing of the UK's "Big Four" grocers in the 12 weeks to January 28.

Tesco said it worked hard to pay employees fairly and equally.

The firm said it was working as well on claims at rivals to Tesco such as Sainsbury's and Asda, which is Walmart's British arm. Asda is due to appeal against the ruling in October.

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, which is part of legal action over workers' rights against Uber, said Wednesday's government response to the review did not go far enough. The legal process is expected to be lengthy and could last several years.

"More than anything else, it is an exercise in kicking the problem into the long grass", said General Secretary Jason Moyer-Lee.

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