Morrisons workers move forward in equal pay claim

Morrisons shop floor workers have moved a step forward in their claim for equal pay with people working in distribution centres.

Equal Pay


Morrisons shop floor workers’ claim for equal pay with distribution workers moved a step forward when the Employment Tribunal ruled this week that their roles can be compared.

Morrisons had argued that as each of its distribution centres has individual, collectively bargained terms and conditions, the employment terms of distribution centre workers are not common across all sites, so retail workers cannot be compared to them as a group. However, the Employment Tribunal rejected this.

The next stage in this equal pay claim is for Leigh Day solicitors, who are representing nearly 2,300 Morrisons claimants, argue that the roles are of equal value.

If Morrisons shop floor workers are successful at this second stage, the supermarket will have an opportunity to argue that there is a reason, other than sex discrimination, as to why the roles should not be paid equally.

Other supermarkets and retailers, including Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, the Co-op and Next are facing similar claims.

In June thousands of Tesco shop floor workers, also represented by Leigh Day, won a legal argument in their fight for equal pay when the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that the ‘single source’ test applies to businesses in the UK.

This means a worker can compare their role with somebody working in a different establishment if a ‘single source’ has the power to correct the difference in pay.

The CJEU ruling follows a landmark judgment handed down by the Supreme Court in March which confirmed that Asda shop floor workers can compare their roles to those of their colleagues in distribution centres for the purposes of equal pay.

Next and Sainsbury’s recently conceded on the issue of comparability in the equal pay claims they face.

Emma Satyamurti, a partner in the employment team at Leigh Day, said: “Leigh Day is delighted that the Employment Tribunal agrees with what we have been saying for years; shop floor workers should be able to compare their roles to those of distribution centre workers for the purpose of equal pay.”

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