An equal pay claim has been made against supermarket giant Tesco over alleged gender pay disparity between store workers and depot workers’ pay.
Lawyers argue that employees working in the predominantly male-dominated distribution centres are paid considerably more than the largely female staffed Tesco stores, who may earn in excess of £11 an hour while store staff receive only around £8 per hour.
This disparity could see a full time distribution worker on the same hours earning over £100 a week, or £5,000 a year more than female based store staff, according to the law firm.
It said the underpayment of workers could apply to more than 200,000 Tesco employees, with estimated pay shortfalls that could reach £20,000. The final bill for Tesco could be as high as £4bn if the lawsuit is successful.
Paula Lee, a lawyer for Leigh Day, said: “We believe an inherent bias has allowed store workers to be underpaid for many years. In terms of equal worth to the company there really should be no argument that workers in stores, compared to those working in distribution centres, contribute at least equal value to the vast profits made by Tesco which last year had group sales of £49bn.”
Lee said the huge sums being paid to the company’s management team were “deeply at odds” with those on the shop-floor who just want to be paid at the same rate as their male counterparts in other similar areas of the business.
“According to the latest annual report from Tesco the remuneration package for the CEO and the CFO totalled £7.3m, yet figures show that Tesco employees are having to claim millions of pounds in working tax credits, paying people fairly benefits the whole of society,” she added.