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Morrisons shop floor workers celebrate employment tribunal win

Morrisons shop floor workers, represented by law firm Leigh Day, are one step closer to victory in their fight for equal pay after the employment tribunal ruled their roles can be compared to their colleagues in distribution centres.

Posted on 28 September 2021

Morrisons shop floor workers, represented by law firm Leigh Day, are one step closer to victory in their fight for equal pay after the employment tribunal ruled their roles can be compared to their colleagues in distribution centres. 

In equal value claims, the first step is for the claimants to find someone of the opposite sex working for the same company that they can compare their job to.

Find out more about the Morrisons Equal Pay claim

In her judgment, Employment Judge Davies wrote:

“It is not necessary for the Claimants at this stage to specify an RDC [Regional Distribution Centre] to be compared with each supermarket store.

“They rely on comparators working at all the RDCs and the question at this stage is therefore whether a worker from any of the RDCs who moved to a depot at any of the stores would be engaged on broadly similar terms. For the reasons outlined, I find that they would.”

The next stage in this equal pay claim is for Leigh Day solicitors, on behalf of the claimants, to argue that the roles are of equal value.

If Morrisons shop floor workers are successful at this second stage, the supermarket will have an opportunity to argue that there is a reason, other than sex discrimination, as to why the roles should not be paid equally.

Leigh Day is representing nearly 2,300 Morrisons store workers through their Equal Pay Now campaign.

Join the Morrisons Equal Pay claim

Morrisons employee Liam Blight, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, said:

"It feels like we're closer to getting the recognition we deserve. 

"You can’t fill the shelves quick enough and then if you’re called to checkout there’s no one on the shop floor to stock the shelves so they’re left empty. Some customers are respectful, and they understand that you’re working your hardest, but others don’t care, and you get abuse because the shelves are empty.

"To put up with all of this and to be paid less than people in the distribution centre doesn’t seem fair. Yes, demand in the distribution centres is high but they don’t have the face-to-face interactions with the customers, they’re not getting the abuse and the confrontation."

The firm also represents clients from Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, the Co-op and Next in similar equal pay cases.

This judgment is the most recent in a series of comparability milestones for equal pay claims against top supermarkets in the UK.

In June thousands of Tesco shop floor workers, also represented by Leigh Day, won a legal argument in their fight for equal pay when the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that the 'single source' test applies to businesses in the UK.

This means a worker can compare their role with somebody working in a different establishment if a 'single source' has the power to correct the difference in pay.

The CJEU ruling follows a landmark judgment handed down by the Supreme Court in March which confirmed that Asda shop floor workers can compare their roles to those of their colleagues in distribution centres for the purposes of equal pay.

Next and Sainsbury’s recently conceded on the issue of comparability in the equal pay claims they face.

Emma Satyamurti, a partner in the employment team at Leigh Day, said: 

“Leigh Day is delighted that the Employment Tribunal agrees with what we have been saying for years; shop floor workers should be able to compare their roles to those of distribution centre workers for the purpose of equal pay.

“This year has been a big one for supermarket equal pay claims, with this judgment following hot off the heels of the Asda Supreme Court ruling and the Tesco CJEU judgment.

“We hope that this will help Morrisons to recognise the hard work their shop floor staff do and finally pay their staff what they are worth.”

 

For more information or to join the claim visit equalpaynow.co.uk

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