LONDON (Reuters) – Supermarket group Tesco (TSCO.L) is going through a possible invoice of as much as four billion kilos ($5.6 billion) to convey the wages of its feminine workers into line with males, in response to the regulation agency pursuing Britain’s largest equal pay declare.
Tesco is Britain’s largest retailer and its largest personal sector employer with greater than 310,000 workers.
Law agency Leigh Day stated on Wednesday the primarily male workers within the company’s distribution facilities had been paid significantly greater than its largely feminine retailer staff. The regulation agency stated it was additionally engaged on claims at grocery store rivals Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L) and Asda, the British arm of Walmart (WMT.N).
Unequal pay for women and men is at present a sizzling subject in Britain’s boardrooms and corridors of energy. The resignation final month of Carrie Gracie as China Editor for the BBC led to an investigation into pay variations on the public broadcaster.
British Business Secretary Greg Clark instructed Sky News he was “surprised” by the dimensions of the declare in opposition to Tesco.
A Tesco spokesman stated the agency had not but obtained a declare.
“Tesco has always been a place for people to get on in their career, regardless of their gender, background or education, and we work hard to make sure all our colleagues are paid fairly and equally for the jobs they do,” he stated.
Tesco shares had been down zero.9 p.c at 1010 GMT.
Leigh Day stated Tesco distribution heart workers could earn in extra of 11 kilos ($15.four) an hour, whereas the most typical grade for retailer workers noticed them obtain round eight kilos per hour.
This disparity may see a full time distribution employee on the identical hours incomes over 100 kilos every week – or 5,000 kilos a 12 months – greater than feminine retailer workers.
The regulation agency stated greater than 200,000 Tesco workers could also be underpaid and estimated shortfalls may attain 20,000 kilos every, which means the potential invoice for Tesco could possibly be as excessive as four billion kilos.
Leigh Day stated it had already began submitting claims on behalf of its purchasers via conciliation service ACAS, the primary stage within the Employment Tribunal course of.
It stated it had been approached by over 1,000 workers and former workers of Tesco.
“In terms of equal worth to the company there really should be no argument that workers in stores, compared to those working in distribution centers, contribute at least equal value to the vast profits made by Tesco,” stated Leigh Day employment lawyer Paula Lee.
The agency stated it was additionally representing over 20,000 shop-floor staff in equal pay claims in opposition to rival grocery store teams Sainsbury’s and Asda.
($1 = zero.7147 kilos)
Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Mark Potter