Leigh Day has confirmed it is now bringing Equal Pay claims against all of the ‘big four’ supermarkets after launching a claim against Morrisons.
Leigh Day is seeking compensation for women in stores who believe they are paid less than men in the distribution centres for equal work. The firm has lodged claims with the conciliation service ACAS while awaiting a response from Morrisons CEO David Potts, who they have written to on behalf of the first group of clients requesting Pay and Gender information for workers. Leigh Day have also asked Morrisons to confirm if they have carried out an equal pay audit, something the Equality and Human Rights Commission suggests is the most effective way of ensuring an organisation meets its equal pay obligations.
As Morrisons has around 80,000 store staff eligible to claim, then should their actions be unlawful the final bill for back pay could be in excess of a billion pounds.
Leigh Day is already taking legal action on behalf of 30,000 staff working in Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco stores.
Leigh Day believes that employees working in the predominantly male-dominated distribution centres are paid considerably more than the largely female-staffed stores, a trend that is seen across the biggest supermarkets in the country.
Emma Satyamurti, partner in law firm Leigh Day’s employment team, said:
“We believe that Morrisons, as with the other major supermarkets, has underpaid those working in its stores for a number of years. The big four supermarkets in the UK make vast amounts each year in profits – it is time that they faced up to their legal obligations under Equal Pay legislation.
“Our clients believe that those working on the shop floor should be paid the same as those in the distribution centres, and a failure to commit to this is not only unfair but unlawful.
“This legal action is being taken forward to ensure that the work done in stores and distribution centres is recognised as being of equal value; not the same work, but work of equal value and that those working on the shop floor should be paid the same as their colleagues in distribution.”
It has been reported that Morrisons CEO David Potts took home a £1.7 million bonus in 2017 – a sum that could take a store employee 100 years to earn.
Leigh Day is currently representing over 30,000 shop-floor workers in equal pay claims against fellow supermarket giants Tesco, Sainsbury’s and ASDA, who all face similar claims of discrepancies in pay between the male dominated distribution centres and the mainly female staffed stores.