To continue reading please register or login to your OHW+ account.
Sainsbury’s has acknowledged that its shop floor employees can be compared to their colleagues in distribution centres, as supermarket sector’s legal fight against equal pay claims takes another tentative step towards a resolution.
More than 3,700 Sainsbury’s workers, represented by law firm Leigh Day, have brought equal pay claims against the retailer arguing that their work is as demanding as distribution centre roles.
Workers in distribution centre are better paid by as much as £4 an hour.
Comparability is the first stage in a three-step legal process for equal pay claims. Sainsbury’s will now have to prove that the two roles are not of equal value or that there is a genuine reason for the pay difference which is not based on gender.
In June, thousands of Tesco shop floor workers won a legal argument in their fight for equal pay when the European Court of Justice ruled that the “single source” test applied to businesses in the UK.
This meant a worker can compare their role with somebody working in a different establishment if a single source – for example, the company’s management – has the power to correct the difference in pay.
Mike Keenan, a solicitor in the employment team at Leigh Day, said: “This is a huge milestone for Sainsbury’s shop floor workers and truly something to celebrate.
“Now that Sainsbury’s finally agrees shop floor workers compare their roles to workers in distribution centres, we can focus on what’s at the heart of these claims: whether the work is of equal value.
“Leigh Day believes it is and we’re confident that the employment tribunal will agree.”
The ECJ ruling follows a landmark