Equal pay more important after Covid, shop workers say

Nine in 10 supermarket employees have become more conscious of issues like equal pay during the Covid-19 pandemic, a survey has claimed.

The study was conducted by Leigh Day, the legal firm representing shop workers in claims against the Big 4 grocers.

Staff are entitled to thousands of pounds because they have been paid less than supermarket warehouse workers, it argues.

Sainsbury’s employee Hannah Thompson said that Covid-19 made “equal pay even more significant”.

READ MOREM&S gender pay gap up by a quarter

“You don’t feel important or like Sainsbury’s think the work you do is essential even though we know it is,” she continued.

“Working during the pandemic just makes you more aware of the problems there are at work.”

Four months ago, the retailer was reportedly hit by a £400,000 legal bill after unsuccessfully trying to strike down payment claims at an employment tribunal.

“Shop floor workers [have] put themselves at an increased risk to keep our fridges and cupboards stocked,” Leigh Day partner Emma Satyamurti said.

“It’s unsurprising that the extra stress they are under has made them even more aware of the disparity between their pay and that of their colleagues in distribution centres.”

The solicitors believe shop staff who have worked for six years could be entitled to between £10,000 and £25,000.

Last month, the European Court of Justice ruled that claimants represented by Leigh Day could compare their wages to those of warehouse employees.

With depot workers paid £3 more per hour, Tesco could be forced to make back payments of around £2.5 billion.

Asda workers won a similar decision at the Supreme Court in March, in what commentators labelled a “watershed moment” for retailers.

However, both Big 4 grocers emphasised the victories were just one stage of cases that would take years to resolve.



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