Victory for Tesco workers in equal pay dispute Business News

Thousands of current and former Tesco employees have won a fight in their equal pay dispute with the supermarket.

On Thursday, the European Court of Justice ruled that EU law can be used to assert equal pay rights against an employer in the UK.

Supermarket workers, who are mostly women, accused Britain’s biggest grocer of underpaying them by up to £ 3 an hour, compared to distribution center workers who are mostly men , although their work is of equal value.

They claim it violates both UK and EU law.

The employees, represented by law firm Leigh Day, took their complaints to a court in Watford. They said the supermarket should be seen as a single entity in terms of employment conditions – as it would under EU law – and therefore should pay employees equally for work of equal value.

Tesco argued that the EU’s “single source” law – which allows workers to be compared to workers at different establishments as long as a “single source” has the capacity to correct the difference in pay – does did not apply directly in this case.

The UK court sought clarification from Europe’s highest court, the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice, which dismissed Tesco’s claims and ruled in favor of the employees.

The judges said: “The principle, established by EU law, of equal pay for male and female workers can be directly invoked, with regard to both ‘equal work’ and ‘equal work’ ‘. work of equal value ”, in procedures between individuals. “

This decision binds the British government, despite the country’s exit from the EU, and cannot be appealed. It will now apply to future equal pay litigation in private companies in the UK.

Responding to the decision, a spokesperson for Tesco said: “The jobs in our stores and distribution centers are different. These roles require different skills and requirements which lead to variation – but that has absolutely nothing to do with gender.

“We reward our colleagues fairly for the work they do and work hard to ensure that the compensation and benefits we provide are fair, competitive and sustainable. These claims are extremely complex and will take many years to come to fruition. We continue to vigorously defend these claims.

Kiran Dauka, partner at Leigh Day, said: “For a long time employers have argued that UK law in this area is unclear, but this judgment is simple: if there is a single body responsible for ensuring the equality, the roles are comparable. . “

The law firm has previously said workers affected by the wage dispute could be entitled to compensation for up to six years, of at least £ 10,000 each.

Next steps in the equal pay dispute include comparing roles in UK labor courts and investigating whether roles are of ‘equal value’ and the reasons for pay differences.

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This notice was published: 2021-06-03 16:45:01

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