Tesco loses employment tribunal appeal in equal pay case

Tesco lost its appeal against an order to disclose details about warehouse staff’s pay and roles in an ongoing equal pay dispute.

Supermarket retail


Tesco has lost its appeal against a ruling that it should disclose information that lawyers say will assist thousands of shop workers in their equal pay battle.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld an earlier order by the Employment Tribunal made in September 2020 ordering the supermarket to start handing over information about its warehouse staff, including the activities they do and how much Tesco pay them to do it.

Equal value work

Law firm Leigh Day is representing more than 3,700 store workers, most of whom are women who claim their work is of equal value to that of their colleagues working in distribution centres, most of whom are male, and so they should be paid the same.

In equal value claims the first step is for the claimants to find somebody they can compare their job to. The Employment Appeal Tribunal’s ruling means Tesco must disclose information such as pay rates and job descriptions over a set period of time.

The difference in hourly pay for a shop worker and those in a distribution centre can range between £1.50 to £3 an hour, which, lawyers say, could mean a disparity in pay of many thousands of pounds.

Lara Kennedy, a solicitor in the employment team at Leigh Day, said:  “Equal pay is a fundamental right and, had Tesco been successful in its appeal, enforcing this right would have been significantly undermined. This would not just have impacted Tesco employees, but would also set a precedent for future equal pay claims.”

Morrisons pay rise

The appeal ruling came as rival supermarket Morrisons announced that it will increase minimum pay to £10 an hour. The deal, which starts in April, will see the supermarket’s minimum hourly pay rise from £9.20 for nearly 96,000 employees. The retailer is also paying an inner London weighting of 85p and 60p for outer London. Morrisons says it will pay for the majority of the extra wage costs but that a quarter of the sum is coming from scrapping of the discretionary annual colleague bonus scheme.

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