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UK: Supreme Court hears appeal in Asda gender pay discrimination case

The UK's Supreme Court will hear an appeal in which Asda argues that shopfloor workers, who are predominantly women, cannot be compared with predominantly male distribution staff for the purposes of equal pay. The ruling will have repercussions for simiilar equal pay cases involving Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons and Co-op.

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Article
23 July 2020

UK: Asda equal pay dispute to be heard at Supreme Court in “landmark case” for supermarket giants & gender equality

Author: Joanna Partridge, The Guardian

“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. 

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Article
14 July 2020

Asda Stores v Brierly Judgment details in the England & Wales Court of Appeal

Author: United Kingdom Supreme Court

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Article
13 July 2020

Supreme Court hearing in Asda workers' equal pay battle

Author: Leigh Day

The Supreme Court is hearing an appeal by Asda against a ruling by the Court of Appeal…[the] appeal is Asda’s final chance to argue that Asda shop floor workers – most of whom are women – cannot be compared to predominantly-male distribution centre staff for the purposes of equal pay.

The case has captured the attention of national and global press because the ruling...will have massive ramifications for other ongoing equal pay claim cases by workers at Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Co-op and Tesco.

This landmark case is the UK’s biggest equal pay claim and without precedent in the private sector. The total estimate of the claims against the five supermarkets, if they lose their cases, and are ordered to pay all eligible staff could be over £8 billion.

...Lauren Lougheed, a partner in the employment team, said...“We are hopeful that we can win on this issue for the fourth time in the Supreme Court, to prove once and for all that the roles are comparable, and continue on to win the overall fight for equal pay for our clients.”

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Article
12 July 2020

'They just got away with paying men more …’ Milestone looms in Asda equal pay fight

Author: Nosheen Iqbal, The Guardian

This week the [UK Supreme] court will consider whether Asda shopfloor workers, most of whom are women, should have been paid in line with male distribution staff for the purposes of equal pay. The latest appeal is Asda’s final chance to argue that the roles are not comparable…solicitors at Leigh Day, the law firm representing the women, are confident. “All five judges who have looked at this case before have decided in the shop assistants’ favour, so we are confident the supreme court will agree with them,” said Michael Newman, a partner at Leigh Day.

…The firm is also representing clients from Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons and Co-op in similar equal pay cases. If the five supermarkets lose, they could be ordered to pay all eligible staff more than an estimated £8bn.

…An Asda spokesperson said…“Our hourly rates of pay in stores are the same for female and male colleagues, and this is equally true in our depots. Pay rates in stores differ from pay rates in distribution centres because the demands of the jobs in stores and the jobs in the distribution centre are very different.”

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