Over 1,000 workers at Tesco are bringing claims in the Employment Tribunal for equal pay. This is a significant increase from the initial 100 workers who issued claims earlier this year. However, with up to 200,000 workers who could be affected by the claims against Tesco, the number of Claimants could continue to rise.
The issue centres upon shop-floor members of staff being payed up to £3 an hour less than those who work in the warehouse. It has been averred the majority of shop-floor staff are woman, with men making up the majority of warehouse staff. It has been submitted that all members of staff should be paid the same as they have similar duties and responsibilities in the workplace.
Similar equal pay claims have been brought by workers at Asda and Sainsbury.
It is only when you add the numbers together that you realise how significant these claims could be for Tesco. Each Tesco worker could, if successful, be entitled to up to £20,000 in back-pay. Therefore if each of the affected 200,000 workers brought a claim, that could leave Tesco with a £4 billion compensation bill.
Equal pay has been a significant issue in recent years, especially with the introduction of gender pay gap reporting. There have been further calls for pay gap reporting to be extended to other forms of pay gap reporting, such as race and sexual orientation to show that regardless of any protected characteristic, an individual is paid fairly.
Equal pay claims are notoriously difficult claims to bring because of the complex issues involved, hence why many equal pay claims are brought by multiple claimants, such as the 1,000 workers who are currently involved in the equal pay case against Tesco.
It is unlawful to pay men and women at different rates of pay if they perform the same job. Whilst many UK businesses pay fairly, it has been shown in the recent gender pay gap reports that there is a gender pay gap. However businesses who have identified a gender pay gap, have also announced measures to reduce those gaps. It will be interesting to see whether this materialises in the coming years.
Firms looking for advice on HR and employment law issues relating to equal pay can speak to Miss Sally Morris via 01905 610410 or email email@example.com.