Published: Чт, Февраля 08, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

United Kingdom retail chain faces $7-billion claim over gender pay gap

United Kingdom retail chain faces $7-billion claim over gender pay gap

"We believe an inherent bias has allowed store workers to be underpaid for many years", said Leigh Day's Paula Lee.

The demands come as the United Kingdom implements new rules requiring any company employing more than 250 people to disclose the disparity in pay between men and women by April, according to AP.

They argue they are paid £3 an hour less than those working in the male dominated distribution centres despite the fact their work is of equal value.

This means Tesco could be facing a compensation bill amounting to around £4 billion, according to Leigh Day, the solicitor's firm representing the female workers.

The grocer previously said that men on average were paid 14 per cent more than women in the year through April 2016.

An equal pay case is being taken against supermarket giant Tesco which lawyers estimate could lead to a bill of £4 billion.

Tesco, which said it has not yet received any claims, said that it "works hard" to make sure all of its employees are "paid fairly and equally for the jobs they do".

Tesco's shares were down 0.8 per cent at 9:50am in London on Wednesday.

The lawyers said the case could eventually involve 200,000 women, making it the largest equal pay challenge in the UK.

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According to the claims, distribution center employees typically earn over £11 ($15.30) an hour, while store workers get only £8 ($11) per hour.

Similar earlier actions alleging pay inequality are being pursued against Tesco's competitors, Asda and Sainsbury's and are going through the employment tribunal process.

Tesco has said it worked hard to ensure all staff were paid "fairly and equally", regardless of their gender or background.

For the retailers, the threat of a further bump in staffing costs is unwelcome.

In other Tesco news, the latest Kantar Worldpanel data showed that the grocer had remained the fastest-growing of the UK's "Big Four" supermarkets, with sales growing 2.6 percent in the 12 weeks to January 28.

But Martins said that to win the legal argument, the store workers must prove they are contributing the same value as warehouse workers, and that their skills and hiring circumstances are similar.

Workers in Britain receive the minimum wage, holiday pay and rest breaks and employees are also guaranteed rights such as maternity leave and sick pay. About 1,000 workers are involved in the Sainsbury's action.

Asda is set to appeal the ruling later this year.

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