Tesco braces for £4bn lawsuit over gender pay gap
Tesco, the UK's biggest private employer, has been confronted with a massive demand from workers feeling short-changed by a gender pay gap.
The supermarket giant has been hit by claims law firm Leigh Day says could eventually total as much as £4bn (€3.2bn), following the introduction of new rules which force British companies to reveal the gap between men's and women's pay.
The law firm contends that female shop-floor workers are unfairly paid less than their male counterparts in warehouses and says more than 200,000 workers could be entitled to compensation. "There really should be no argument that workers in stores, compared to those working in distribution centres, contribute at least equal value to the vast profits made by Tesco," Leigh Day lawyer Paula Lee said.
Tesco, which previously said that men on average were paid 14pc more than women in the year through April 2016, said it hadn't received the claims.
Of Tesco's lowest-paid workers 62pc are women, but only 41pc of its highest earners are female. The demands come as the UK implements new rules requiring any company employing more than 250 people to disclose the disparity in pay between men and women by April.
Tesco is particularly exposed because of its size as well as a recent push to put thousands more staff on its shop floors in a bid to soften its hard-nosed image among UK consumers.
Tesco is not alone in facing gender pay-related claims.
Similar cases were brought in 2014 against Asda, the UK arm of Walmart and in 2015 against J Sainsbury.
They are still working their way through the legal system.