Next Equal Pay Claim: Taking the battle for equal pay beyond the supermarket aisle

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The fight for equal pay in the British retail sector started with supermarket giants, Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Co-op, but it doesn’t end there! The Next Equal Pay Claim is here.

Store staff at the UK’s largest clothing and home products retailer by sale, Next, have joined with over 100,000 thousand supermarket staff to add their voice to the call for ‘Equal Pay Now’.

Represented by specialist employment and discrimination barrister, Elizabeth George, more than 330 Next staff have already submitted their equal pay claims to the Employment Tribunal in Leeds.  With new staff joining the claim every week, it is expected that the numbers will extend into the thousands.

George said:

I believe that Leigh Day’s knowledge, experience and commitment to these national equal pay claims is unrivalled. These are tough claims to win and they take real determination but with Leigh Day now fighting their corner, the Next staff have given themselves the best chance of winning. And just as importantly, they are not fighting alone.   Whether you are a supermarket store worker or fashion store worker, the pay inequality issue is shared one: these jobs are paid less because they are traditionally regarded as women’s work compared to the work in the warehouses.

 

Equal Pay for Equal Work

Next employ around 45,000 people in the UK, more than 20,000 of whom are female staff working in the stores. More than 85% of store staff are women compared to Next warehouse staff, where the majority are men.

For years the predominantly female store workforce, on minimum wage, have been paid substantially less per hour than those working in the warehouses. Their average salary loss is more than £6,000.

Next argue that the higher salary of its warehouse workers is justified because the work carried out by those workers is deemed more difficult than the duties of those working in the stores. The Store staff are arguing that their work comes with the same physical and mental demands.

If they win their claim Next will need to update its salary policy to ensure it adheres to the guidelines set out by the Equality Act 2010. The Next staff in the claim will also be entitled to up to 6 years backpay.

 

Are Next breaking the law?

If the Employment Tribunal rules in favour of the claimants, then Next will be found to be in breach of the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Act 2010 says that employers must pay staff doing comparable jobs an equal salary.

 

What happens if Next loses the Employment Tribunal?

If Next loses the Employment Tribunal, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will immediately grant store workers equal pay and award compensation. Instead they could appeal the Tribunal’s decision in which case the claim will then be brought to the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

Next can also appeal the decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal. If they do the claim will then be brought to the Court of Appeal. After that Next will have one last chance of defending itself in the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court decide that Next are in breach of the Equality Act 2010, the retailer will be required by law to compensate the store staff in the claim.

 

Who can join the Claim?

Sales Consultants and Stockroom Assistants who are paid by the hour and currently work at Next or left within the last 6 months.

Both men and women can join.

How can I join the claim?

We have made this as simple as we can. You can join the claim by completing our online form here… www.equalpaynow.co.uk/next-signup/

Equal Pay Now are supported by Leigh Day, a nationwide Law Firm who specialise in group claim cases.

We are acting on a No Win No Fee basis so that as many store staff who want to can afford to join the claim.

 

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