Asda loses equal pay appeal

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has upheld the equal pay ruling made last October against supermarket giant, Asda.

The EAT confirmed that roles on the shop floor can compare to those performed by men in distribution centres and has dismissed Asda’s appeal.

Background to the case

At Asda, workers at the checkouts or who stack shelves in stores tend to be women and those working at distribution centres tend to be men. The difference in pay between the two types of workers is between £1 and £3 an hour.

The shop floor workers believe that their work is perceived as ‘women’s work’. Despite doing work of equal value, they argue they are being paid less than men working in the distribution centres.

However, Asda refutes these claims, arguing that the demands of the roles are different. They contend that ‘Pay rates in stores differ from pay rates in distribution centres for legitimate reasons, including the different market rates for different jobs in different sectors.’ They argue that hourly paid colleagues doing the same job in the same location are paid the same; men and women doing the same job in stores are paid the same, and females and males fulfilling the same work duties in distribution centres are paid equally.

An Employment Tribunal found against Asda. It concluded that the women in the stores can compare themselves to men at distribution centres and allowed their equal pay claim to proceed.

What happens now?

It has been reported that an Asda spokesperson commented: ‘The Employment Appeal Tribunal have given us permission to appeal against this judgment, to the Court of Appeal. We continue to strongly dispute the claims being made against us’.

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