Asda fails in its bid to block equal pay claim by its supermarket workers
7,000 supermarket workers are to take Asda to an employment tribunal over issues of equal pay, after the retail giant failed in a bid to have the case stayed.
The employees, mainly female, are demanding to be paid the same as their colleagues who work in Asda’s depots, who mainly consist of men and receive more money.
Asda denies any discrimination and went to the Court of Appeal to argue that the complexity of this “highly exceptional, indeed unique” case merited a move to the High Court.
Equal pay cases can move from the High Court to the employment tribunal, but Court of Appeal judge Lord Justice Elias said no such rulings had been made to move cases the other way. He added that the employment tribunal system had considerable expertise in the area.
An Asda spokesman said: “The ruling from the Court of Appeal relates solely to the way the case will proceed in the courts. It has nothing to do with the merits of the case itself.
“While we respect the court’s decision, we continue to strongly dispute the claims being made against us in the employment tribunal.
“This is a legal case about different rates of pay for different jobs. We believe that jobs in question are very different in terms of their demands, and we strongly dispute the claims being made.
“At Asda people doing the same job are paid the same. Men and women doing the same job in our retail stores are paid the same. Men and women doing the same job in our distribution and logistics centre are paid the same. Pay rates in stores and depots differ for legitimate reasons, including the different market rates for different jobs.”