Asda loses equal pay court case
Asda has lost a Supreme Court battle against store workers who brought an equal pay claim because staff working in distribution depots got paid more than those on the shop floor. Judges ruled store workers were entitled to compare themselves to distribution staff for equal pay purposes.
Asda had claimed the staff in the case, mainly women, should not have their pay compared to DC staff because the roles were different.
The GMB union, which brought the claim on behalf of its members, hailed the ruling as a “massive victory”. The next stage of the shopworkers’ compensation claim could run to £500m.
“This is amazing news and a massive victory for Asda’s predominantly women shopfloor workforce,” said GMB legal director Susan Harris.
“We are proud to have supported our members in this litigation and helped them in their fight for pay justice. Asda has wasted money on lawyers’ bills chasing a lost cause, losing appeal after appeal, while tens of thousands of retail workers remain out of pocket.
“We now call on Asda to sit down with us to reach agreement on the back pay owed to our members – which could run to hundreds of millions of pounds.”
Sainsbury’s also has a dispute over equal pay. Over 3,000 current and former employees say they were underpaid by the supermarket compared to their distribution centre colleagues who “did the same job but earned a higher rate”. Sainsbury’s disagreed, alleging staff had provided incorrect job titles when submitting their claims, making them invalid. However, judges said the grocer had acted “unreasonably” by attempting to stop the case.