The first batch of equal pay claims against supermarket chain Morrisons has been lodged with the Employment Tribunal by legal organisation Leigh Day.
The law firm is seeking compensation for store workers, who are predominantly female, and who claim that they are paid less for work of equal value to the organisation to that done by staff in its distribution centres, who tend to be male.
Leigh Day says it has received around 1,000 enquiries from Morrisons staff, and that the employer has around 80,000 workers eligible to claim, meaning that if the pay policy is found to be unlawful then the final bill for compensation could be in excess of £1 billion.
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.
Emma Satyamurti, partner in Leigh Day’s employment team, said: “We believe that Morrisons has made the same mistake as the other big supermarkets, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, by underpaying those working in the stores. These are huge companies with big profits and they have no excuse for not facing up to their legal obligations under equal pay legislation.
“Our clients are fighting for equal pay with those working in distribution centres, who they believe are doing work for equal value. The law states that women and men doing work of equal value should be paid the same.”