31 July 2019
Equal pay claims against Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s are still in their preliminary stages and continue to rumble on through the courts. Tesco are facing a £4bn equal pay claim from store staff (mainly female) who allege that they should be paid the same as distribution centre workers (mainly male). Currently there is a £3p/h difference. Asda faces similar claims from 7,000 supermarket employees.
In Element v Tesco Stores the London Central ET made a reference to ECJ in August 2019 on whether Article 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union is directly enforceable in equal value claims in the same way it is in claims of like work and work rated as equivalent. The ECJ hearing is awaited.
In Asda v Brierley & others, the Court of Appeal has agreed with the ET and the EAT decisions that the retail workers could use depot workers working in different establishments as the comparators for the purposes of their equal pay claims (based on equal value) as they were employed by the same employer and common terms and conditions applied in the different establishments. Asda has appealed to the Supreme Court who will hear the appeal on 14 and 15 July 2020.
Sainsbury’s Supermarkets v Ahmed was remitted back to the ET in 2018 to determine a dispute over whether the claims had been properly filed under the same ET1 and whether any irregularity could be waived to allow the claims to proceed. We await further judgments on this case.