The gender pay gap is an ongoing issue in society. UK figures show that the current gap between men and women is 9.1%, and an increasing number of workers are taking action against their employers. The latest case is being taken against one of the UK’s biggest supermarkets, Tesco. It’s been estimated that the company could be made to pay up to £4billion to its female employees over claims that it’s unfairly paying it male workers more than females.
The law firm acting on behalf of the workers, Leigh Day, claims that over 200,000 Tesco employees may be eligible to make a claim against the company, and many have already submitted their claim to the employment tribunal service. The accusation being put forward is that employees in the distribution centres, who are predominantly men, are being paid £11 an hour, which is £3 an hour more than those working in stores, who are mostly women.
“This disparity could see a full time distribution worker on the same hours earning over £100 a week, or £5,000 a year more than female based store staff,” the firm said, adding that it had already been approached by thousands of employees and ex employees of Tesco.
They have also advised that anyone who has worked at a Tesco store in the UK in the last six years will be eligible to make a claim, whether male or female. Those workers who have been employed for over six years might also be able to claim back pay for their entire employment. It’s been estimated that the payouts for employees could be as high as £20,000 in some cases.
Leigh Day is currently representing workers from other supermarkets in the UK as well. Workers from Sainsbury’s and Asda have both made similar cases, where workers in distribution centres are paid significantly more than those working in stores. “We believe an inherent bias has allowed store workers to be underpaid for many years,” said Paula Lee, a lawyer from Leigh Day who’s representing the workers.
She added “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 £49.9bn”
A spokesperson for Tesco said that they were unable to comment on individual cases, however they noted: “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.”