Equal Pay Dispute Goes to Supreme Court

SUMMARY OF CASE

Asda supermarket workers’ long-running legal battle to receive pay equal to their colleagues who work in the company’s warehouses is being considered in a virtual hearing that got under way at the supreme court.

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 the chain’s distribution depots, and who receive a higher wage.

The retailer 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 in favour of the shop workers and said they could compare themselves to the higher-paid depot workers.

If the workers are successful, they are seeking six years of backdated pay from the retailer.

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.

If the five supermarkets lose the cases brought by the workers, they could be facing backdated pay claims totalling £8bn!

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