A law firm has launched its first batch of equal pay claims in an employment tribunal with Morrisons, on behalf of female workers based in the supermarket chain’s distribution centres.
Leigh Day is representing a group of women who believe they have been paid less than their male counterparts at the centres. The law firm, which is also preparing to take on Asda, Tesco and Sainsburys over similar claims, says it has had around 1,000 enquiries regarding Morrisons.
Should the tribunal find against it, Morrisons could have to pay a bill in excess of £1bn if its estimated 80,000 store staff join the distribution centre workers in the action.
Leigh Day employment lawyer, Emma Satyamurti said: “We believe that Morrisons has made the same mistake as the other big supermarkets – Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco – by underpaying those working in the stores. These are huge companies with big profits and they have no excuse for not facing up to their legal obligations under equal pay legislation.
“Our clients are fighting for equal pay with those working in the distribution centres, who they believe are doing work of equal value. The law states that women and men doing work of equal value should be paid the same.”
In its claims against Sainsbury’s, Asda and Tesco, Leigh Day says it is representing 30,000 shop workers. It estimates the claims against Tesco could cost the supermarket chain £4bn, Tesco refused to comment when contacted by Retail Sector.
A spokesperson for Morrisons said: “We believe we pay our colleagues fairly and equally for the job that they do, irrespective of their gender, and we will be defending this claim.”