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Frontline supermarket workers should be given the equal pay they deserve

Increased demand on retail staff working in supermarkets, who are on the frontline in the current coronavirus pandemic, has renewed calls for shop workers to be paid the same as those in distribution centres.

Posted on 23 April 2020

Leigh Day, the law firm acting for more than 40,000 supermarket workers in their equal pay battle, believes that those working tirelessly to keep people’s fridges and cupboards stocked should be given the recognition they deserve.
Now more than ever, retail staff’s work is physical, challenging and exhausting but they are paid less than their colleagues in warehouses and distribution centres, says Leigh Day.
The difference in hourly pay for a shop floor worker and a distribution centre worker can range from £1.50 to £3. Lawyers believe the average worker could be entitled to £10,000 in back pay up to six years. Some may be entitled to as much as £20,000.
Leigh Day has ongoing equal pay claims on behalf of workers at Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Co-op. The law firm is taking the cases to the employment tribunal on a ‘no win-no fee’ basis.

This renewed call for fair pay comes as the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw), predicts a “day of reckoning” when people realise “low-paid workers need to be looked after”.
Chris Benson, a partner in the employment team at Leigh Day, said:
“It’s taken a pandemic for supermarket workers to finally be recognised as key workers.
“Across Britain, thousands of men and women are working long hours in supermarket stores – putting themselves at an increased risk to keep everyone else’s fridges and cupboards stocked.
“Yet they are paid less than their colleagues in warehouses and distribution centres. At Leigh Day we are challenging this unequal situation with the Equal Pay Now campaign. It’s time this hardworking group of people get the recognition they deserve.”