Hundreds of next store workers have joined together to bring an equal pay claim against national retailer Next. The next store staff, who are mostly women, are arguing that their work is of equal value to that of their male colleagues in the warehouses and distribution centres who receive higher hourly rates as well as better bonuses, premiums and other benefits.
Next employs 25,000 store staff across 500 stores in the UK and Eire. More than 360 next store workers have already submitted their claims to the employment tribunal, but thousands more could still be eligible to join the claim. Continue reading to find out more about the claim which is being run by Equal Pay Now.
What has happened in the claim and what comes next?
The claim started in 2018 when the first next shop floor staff initiated the equal pay claim in the Employment Tribunal. Since then, over 360 next store workers have joined the claim which is being led by leading employment and discrimination barrister, Elizabeth George.
The equal pay claim is about ending the pay difference between store workers and warehouse workers and getting compensation for the staff who have been underpaid as a result. To do this, we will have to show that the work of the hourly-paid store staff is of equal value to the work in the warehouses and distribution centres.
Lots of work has already taken place by the legal team to identify what work is being done in the warehouses, and by which individuals. From this, individual “comparators” in the warehouses can be selected. In May 2021, an independent job expert will be appointed by the Tribunal to assess whether the work done by those individual comparators is of equal value to that done by the shop floor workers.
If the roles are of equal value, then Next must prove that they have a genuine reason for paying the store staff less. That reason must be free from any sex discrimination.
If Next fail in their material factor defence, and the judgment is not appealed, the claims will have been successful, and compensation will be decided.
Who can join the claim?
You can join the claim if you are currently working at next or left next within the last 6 months in any of the below roles:
- Sales Consultant
- Stockroom Assistant
- Team Coach
Will I be able to claim compensation?
No legal claim is guaranteed to win but the case for equal pay for next store workers is strong. Equal pay law is clear. If you are a woman doing a job of equal value to a man (and vice versa) you should be paid equally. We believe that the work in the next stores is of equal value to the work in the warehouses. Currently, warehouse work is paid at a higher hourly rate and warehouse staff also receive better bonuses, premiums and other benefits.
If we win, we can reasonably expect average awards in the region of £6,000. For many, the figure is much higher. Interest is also awarded (8% per year) for everyone who has submitted their claim.
However, only those people who join the claim will be eligible to receive that compensation.
When will I receive the compensation?
Group equal pay claims of this type are not won overnight. It is a marathon, not a sprint. Claims like this are also worth a lot of money so employers are likely to fight each stage.
The good news is that, with the Next claim, we are over the halfway point.
We will write to you with regular updates so that you know what stage the claim is at.
Is the claim ‘no win, no fee’?
Yes. The claims are funded by a Damages-Based Agreement (DBA), which is a type of ‘no win, no fee’ agreement. This means that we do not charge for our work unless you receive financial compensation. Our charge is capped at 25% of your compensation plus VAT.
How do I join the claim?
To join the claim you simply need to complete our short online form and accept the terms of the No Win Fee Agreement. The No Win No Fee agreement is a legal document which sets out the terms of the claim, when you accept the terms you will instruct us to take on your claim. You cannot join the claim without accepting the terms.
Once you have completed the sign-up form and accepted the No Win No Fee Agreement, you will receive an email from us confirming that your claim has been processed. You can contact a member the next employment team at any time if you have any questions regarding your claim.