Law firm Pattinson & Brewer has initiated legal proceedings against clothing chain Next, on behalf of female store workers who it alleges receive less pay than men in comparable roles.
The group’s equal pay action will argue that thousands of Next store staff are owed compensation because of unequal pay going back several years. Lawyers working on the claim believe that the predominantly female store staff receive on average 24% less than those working in male dominated warehouses.
According the firm all current store staff and those who have left within the last six years may be eligible to make a claim. If the claim is successful, female workers could be entitled to up to six years’ worth of backpay.
Elizabeth George, head of the employment team at Pattinson & Brewer, who is representing the Next women, said: “There really aren’t many simpler legal concepts to grasp than this one – staff doing comparable jobs should be paid the same amount. But when you look across every work sector, you will see work, that is traditionally viewed as women’s work, being undervalued.”
She added: “The physical and mental demands on the shop floor are no less than those in the warehouses. The only thing of less substance is the minimum wage being given to our clients.”