An equal pay claim brought by shop floor workers at Tesco has moved a step closer to resolution, with an employment tribunal deciding to move directly to a final hearing on six key test cases.
According to Harcus Parker, the law firm acting on behalf of the Tesco workers, the tribunal decided in favour of a streamlined approach to the case’s resolution, which is likely to shorten the litigation process by several years.
Tesco had argued that the tribunal should examine many more test cases before moving to a final hearing to decide whether the supermarket chain breached equal pay rules in the way it pays colleagues on the shop floor and in warehouses.
However, the law firm successfully argued for a more streamlined approach, which it says will also compel Tesco to clarify its defence strategies and disclose more documentation.
The claim on behalf of thousands of shop floor staff, who are predominantly female, was launched in 2018. The group claims that Tesco breached its duty under section 66 of the Equality Act 2010 to pay them equally to men in comparable roles, namely warehouse staff who are predominantly male.
The claimants argue that they have been paid up to £3 an hour less than warehouse and distribution centre staff.
Tesco equal pay case
Emily Fernando, a lawyer at Harcus Parker Employment, said: “We’re pleased and heartened by the tribunal’s findings. After 26 separate hearings over the course of the last five and a half years, members of Tesco Action Group are understandably keen to move forward with their claim. This judgment represents a significant step in the right direction.”
Tesco has been contacted for comment.
Several similar claims at other UK supermarkets including Asda, Sainsbury’s Morrisons and the Co-op are working their way through the courts.
Earlier this year, Sainsbury’s lost its High Court bid to throw out the case against it on a technicality.