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UK: Asda equal pay dispute to be heard at Supreme Court in “landmark case” for supermarket giants & gender equality
Author: Joanna Partridge, The Guardian, Published on: 23 July 2020
“Asda equal pay dispute goes to UK supreme court in virtual hearing”, 13 July 2020
About 35,000 retail workers, the majority of whom are women, have filed claims asking to be paid the same as the predominantly male staff who work in [Asda’s]…distribution depots, and who receive a higher wage. [Asda]…is asking five justices of the UK’s highest court to overturn earlier rulings, including a 2019 verdict by the court of appeal that found…shop workers…could compare themselves to the higher-paid depot workers. The justices are not expected to deliver a ruling until later in the year.
The Asda employees are being represented by the law firm Leigh Day, which was instructed by the GMB union. If the workers are successful, they are seeking six years of backdated pay from the retailer, from the date of their claim, meaning some workers would be able to claim backdated pay for a longer period. However…, Leigh Day lawyers say their battle for equal pay will not end, as the shop employees will still have to show that the retail and distribution roles are of equal value.
The dispute is seen as a landmark case, and the outcome will have repercussions for about 8,000 workers at other supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Co-op and Morrisons, who are also engaged in equal pay disputes with their employers.