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On Equal Pay Day law firm confirms increase in equal pay claims

On Equal Pay Day Leigh Day confirm a significant increase in the number of equal pay claims

Supermarket worker

10 November 2016

On Equal Pay Day law firm Leigh Day have confirmed a significant increase in the number of equal pay claims, including those against supermarkets such as Asda and Sainsbury’s. The rise follows last month’s judgment in the Manchester employment tribunal which found that Asda store workers could compare their roles to colleagues in the distribution centres.

The gender pay gap means that each year, women effectively stop getting paid on a day in November and work the rest of the year for free. This is known as ‘Equal Pay Day’ and in 2016 it falls on Thursday 10th November, only one day later than last year. Despite it being almost half a century since the Equal Pay Act was introduced, the UK remains significantly below average, ranking 11th out of 18 European countries.

Leigh Day is currently representing thousands of women in their equal pay claims against Asda and Sainsbury’s, in which lower paid store employees argue that their work is of equal value to those of their higher paid colleagues who work in distribution centres.

A judgment against Asda on 14 October 2016 ruled that lower paid women who work in Asda stores can compare themselves to higher paid men who work in Asda’s warehouses.

The Asda judgment has a direct bearing on other equal pay claims in the private sector, including those against other supermarkets.

More than 20,000 individuals working for supermarkets had contacted Leigh Day to register an interest in the case before the Asda judgment and over 5,500 additional colleagues have registered an interest since. It is expected that many more will register to join cases to claim for equal pay over the coming months. 

If the claims are successful, they would be entitled to up to six years’ worth of back pay.

The initial claims brought by over 7,000 Asda store workers could now see workers recovering a combined total of over £100 million for work they have performed going back to 2002. 

Linda Wong, solicitor in the employment team at Leigh Day, said:

“Leigh Day is committed to challenging discrimination and gender inequality. We hope that these group actions will bring about real change in closing the gender pay gap.”
 

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