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Tesco Faces Legal Action From Workers in Pay Dispute

Tesco Faces Legal Action From Workers in Pay Dispute

Employment law policies and fair pay

Tesco is facing legal action from staff who say they lost out on pay for working anti-social hours. The 17 workers say they are “extremely unhappy” at seeing their pay rates change for weekends, bank holidays and night shifts. It is estimated that thousands of the supermarket’s long-term employees, typically in their 40s, could be affected.

Changes to pay rates announced by the company earlier this year included an hourly wage rise, but also cuts to the rates paid to some Sunday and bank holiday staff. Under the changes, staff would receive time and a half for Sunday and bank holiday shifts from July, whereas previously some had received double time.

A Tesco spokesperson said: “Earlier this year we announced a pay increase of up to 3.1% for colleagues working in our stores across the UK, in addition to a 5% turnaround bonus. As part of the pay negotiations we also agreed to simplify premium payments to ensure a fair and consistent approach for all colleagues. The minority of colleagues who were negatively impacted by this change were supported with an agreed lump sum transition payment.”


‘Pay cut discriminates against certain groups of staff’

However, some of the employees, who have worked for Tesco for at least 16 years, say that they feel that “their loyalty was being taken advantage of”, particularly as they only found out about the decision when news was leaked to the national press.

All staff employed prior to July 5th 1999 have seen their previous benefits reduced. Lawyers argue that the imposed pay cut discriminates against certain groups of staff and that many more workers could come forward to take action against the company.

Thousands of Asda workers win major step in equal pay claim battle

Female store workers at Asda can proceed with the UK’s largest private sector equal pay claim.

An employment tribunal has told representatives of 7,000 current and former Asda employees that they can compare themselves to better remunerated male co-workers, who work in the supermarket’s distribution centre, enabling them to bring a series of test cases that could lead to payouts totalling more than £100m dating back to 2002.

The supermarket had previously tried to prevent the claims from proceeding at an employment tribunal, arguing they should be heard in the High Court. However, the Court of Appeal ruled against it.

Courts yet to decide whether comparison is an equal one

Denise Keating, chief executive of the Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion, said it was critical to recognize that while the tribunal ruling has confirmed that store workers can compare their roles and pay to the primarily male warehouse workers, “the courts have not yet found the comparison to be an equal one”.

“The situation that Asda finds itself in is really a test case for the wider retail sector, where differences in pay and the gender balance of workforces in stores and warehouses are similar across the sector. The important question that has yet to be answered is whether the roles are of equal value,” she added.

The supermarket says that the outcome of the tribunal was a “technical” issue and did not “determine the eventual outcome of the case” as it was yet to consider whether the jobs were of equal value.

A company spokesman said: “At Asda, hourly-paid colleagues doing the same job in the same location are paid the same. Men and women doing the same job in our retail stores are paid the same. Men and women doing the same job in our distribution centres are paid the same. Pay rates in stores differ from pay rates in distribution centres for legitimate reasons, including the different market rates for different jobs in different sectors.”

It is predicted the ruling will have far-reaching consequences for other equal pay claims in the retail sector, including one being brought on behalf of around 400 Sainsbury’s workers who find themselves in a similar situation.

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