Supermarket giant Asda is facing legal action from thousands of mainly female employees who claim they have been underpaid.
A legal challenge has been launched after it was revealed that employees in Asda stores are being paid less than colleagues doing similar work in its distribution centres. The basis of the claims is that the supermarket’s warehouse staff take items off shelves, put them onto pallets and load them onto lorries. At the supermarkets, the staff do the reverse – take pallets off lorries, un-stack them and put the items onto shelves.
However, the warehouse staff are predominantly male and the shelf-stackers are predominantly female, and it is claimed that the shelf-stackers earn up to £4.00 an hour less than the warehouse staff for work that is either equal or ‘of equal value’. If the claimants are successful in their equal pay claim, they could be entitled to up to six years of back pay based on the difference in earnings.
In response to the claims an Asda spokesperson said:
“A firm of no win, no fee lawyers are hoping to challenge our award-winning reputation as an equal opportunities employer. “We do not discriminate and are very proud of our record in this area which, if it comes to it, we will robustly defend.”
Over 1,500 employment tribunal claims have been lodged so far, and test cases are expected to be heard early this year.
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