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Tesco faces record £4bn equal pay claim

Tesco faces record £4bn equal pay claim
From BBC - February 6, 2018

Tesco is facing Britain's largest ever equal pay claim and a possible bill running to 4bn.

Thousands of women who work in Tesco stores could receive back pay totalling 20,000 if the legal challenge demanding parity with men who work in the company's warehouses is successful.

Lawyers say hourly-paid female store staff earn less than men even though the value of the work is comparable.

Tesco said it worked hard to ensure all staff were paid "fairly and equally".

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Paula Lee, of Leigh Day solicitors, the firm acting for up to 1,000 women who are likely to take test cases, told the BBC it was time for Tesco to tackle the problem of equal pay for work of equal worth.

The most common rate for women is 8 an hour whereas for men the hourly rate can be as high as 11 an hour, she added.

She said it was a problem that had been "hiding in plain sight" for years.

"We believe an inherent bias has allowed store workers to be underpaid over many years," she said.

"In terms of equal worth to the company there really should be no argument that workers in stores, compared to those working in the depots, contribute at least equal value to the vast profits made by Tesco.

"The law has been there since 1984 - you can compare with a different job.

"That's 34 years to put your house in order; that's 34 years of having the advantage of paying unequally, 34 years of you making pay decisions and making financial decisions and 34 years hiding what is in open sight."

Significant bill?

Leigh Day said that up to 200,000 supermarket workers could be affected, the majority of them women.

Initial claims have been lodged with the conciliation service, ACAS - the first stage in what is likely to be a lengthy legal process through the employment tribunal system which could last several years.

If even a small proportion of the women are successful, the bill for Tesco would be significant.

Birmingham City Council is now liable for over 1bn pounds in payments after settling an equal pay claim from women employed as cleaners, cooks and carers.

'Discrepancies'

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