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Asda has lost a legal dispute in the Court of Appeals over equal pay for staff working on their shop floors.
The disagreement was centred around the debate that workers in Asda stores be paid the same as those who wore in their distribution centres.
Retail giant Asda was actually challenging a Employee Appeal Tribunal on the matter, which was brought about by thousands of their stores works.
The store employees who started the dispute – mostly women – argued that their roles were comparable to those who perform duties in the depots, which organise for Asda’s supplies to be sent to their stores across the country.
According to the Mirror, Lord Justice Underhill ruled for both types of workers, “Asda applied common terms and conditions wherever they work”.
However, employees will reportedly still need to demonstrate that the two respective roles – that of a store employee and a depot employee – are of equal value.
If they are, it’s thought that there is no reason for the two jobs not to be paid equally – other than gender discrimination.
Today an Asda spokesperson has responded to the court ruling, saying, “We are obviously disappointed with the decision, which relates to a preliminary issue of whether jobs in different parts of the business can be compared.
“Asda brought this appeal because it involved complex legal issues which have never been fully tested in the private sector and we will continue to ensure this case is given the legal scrutiny it deserves.”
“We remain confident in our case. This appeal has caused no delay to the main case, which has been continuing in the employment tribunal.”
The Asda spokesperson also maintained that the jobs in the two areas of the business are very different, after suggesting that further investigation into the area is needed.
They said, “Pay rates in stores differ from pay rates in distribution centres because the demands of the jobs in stores and the jobs in distribution centres are very different.
“They operate in different market sectors and we pay the market rate in those sectors regardless of gender.”