Future of Work

Supermarket giant Asda is being urged to solve a “wide-ranging” industry problem of equal pay after a ruling on jobs of equal value.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal decided that jobs in Asda stores were comparable to those in the firm’s distribution centre.

The GMB union said it wanted to find a “sensible solution” to its demand that female store workers should be paid the same as men.

Law firm Leigh Day said the ruling meant that Asda has been unsuccessful in attempting to stop more than 10,000 equal pay claims from proceeding.

Chris Benson, head of the employment and discrimination department at Leigh Day, said: “Asda continues to appeal every point available to them, rather than focusing on paying men in the distribution centres and women in the stores equally, but judges at every level have been adamant that the claims can continue.

“After yet another defeat, we hope that Asda take this opportunity to reflect on the merits of the claims, and concentrate on why they pay men more than women for jobs of equal value, rather than trying to stop the claims going ahead at all.”

Tim Roache, GMB general secretary, said: “GMB look forward to Asda management sitting down and finding a sensible negotiated solution to recognising that our female members in stores should be paid and valued as equal to the men.

“Instead of wasting money on litigation, we ask Asda to be a market leader in solving this wide-ranging industry problem.”

If the shop workers are successful in their claims, Asda are likely to have to review the pay of tens of thousands of staff who may have been paid unlawfully, said Leigh Day.

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