// Tesco workers call on EU Court of Justice for equal pay clarification
// The application may be one of the last major decisions made by the EU in relation to UK employment law before Brexit
// Law firm Leigh Day is representing thousands of Tesco workers
Thousands of Tesco supermarket workers have submitted an application to the European Court of Justice for clarification on equal pay legislation.
Law firm Leigh Day proposed the application, which is expected to be one of the last major decisions by the EU in relation to UK employment law before Brexit, on behalf of Tesco’s colleagues.
Tesco will be given greater protection for workers in all of Leigh Day’s equal pay cases and underpaid female workers across the UK will also benefit if the European Court agrees with Leigh Day’s clients.
The Big 4 leader employs workers in its stores and distribution centres and is responsible for the pay, contracts and benefits at both, though it argues that under UK law, it isn’t clear that the women in stores can claim equal pay with men in the distribution centres.
Tesco has also argued that EU law cannot be relied upon by claimants in equal pay claims because the same people are not responsible for both the terms and conditions of employment in stores and distribution centres.
A pre-Brexit referral to the European Court on whether EU law applies to Tesco would bind the UK government and apply to any future equal pay case, if the UK leaves under the terms of the withdrawal agreement on October 31.
Leigh Day currently represents over 40,000 store workers across five grocers in the UK – Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and the Co-op – in similar equal pay claims.
“We have made this application on behalf of our clients because employers have repeatedly argued that UK law is not clear,” Leigh Day solicitor Kiran Daurka said.
“We hope that a judgement from Europe will make clear the rights of UK workers to bring equal pay claims. The UK’s equal pay laws are reinforced by EU law and we hope that the EU will give our clients the extra protection they should be entitled to.”
Retail Gazette has contacted Tesco for comment.