// Hearing begins to determine if Tesco’s job evaluation study meets legal test
// The study assesses the value of roles as Tesco shop workers allege they are being underpaid
// Workers could be in like to receive compensation years earlier than expected, up to £10,000 in backpay
Tesco shop workers could receive compensation years earlier than expected if an Employment Tribunal decides that a job evaluation study carried out by the grocery giant is reliable.
A hearing is taking place from today until October 14 to decide whether the study meets the legal test.
Job evaluation studies assess the value of roles.
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The claimants – represented by law firm Leigh Day – allege this study developed by Tesco’s own Reward Managers in 2014 found that 22 hourly-paid store roles were equivalent to higher-paid distribution centre roles.
The claimants allege that, after developing the study, Tesco hid its existence from staff.
The shop workers are bringing the claim because they allege that Tesco’s own study assesses their job as equal to those in the distribution centres and therefore they should recieve the same pay.
If successful, employees involved in the claim – and whose job sits within one of the 22 roles – are a step closer to a pay rise and compensation.
Over 3500 shop workers are involved in the Equal Pay Now Campaign, arguing that their work is equal to that of their colleagues in distribution and so they should be paid the same.
The difference in hourly pay for a shop floor worker and those in a distribution centre can range between £1.50 to £3 an hour, which could mean a disparity in pay of many thousands of pounds.
Leigh Day believes the average worker could be entitled to in excess of £10,000 for up to six years back pay.
“This is a highly unusual scenario where Tesco is now backpedalling and criticising its own study,” Leigh Day employment solicitor Lara Kennedy said.
“Having looked at the legislation and carefully analysed the case law, we believe the 2014 study, designed, developed and scored by Tesco’s own Reward Managers, to be a job evaluation study that can be relied upon by its store workers.
“We argue that the only reason shop floor workers have not been paid equally is because, despite their own study telling them otherwise, Tesco see the work done in stores, typically by women, as lesser in value than that done in distribution centres by their mostly male colleagues.”
A Tesco spokesperson said: “We work hard to ensure that we reward our colleagues fairly for the jobs they do.
“The pay in our stores and in our distribution centres is the same for colleagues doing the same jobs regardless of gender.
“There are fundamental differences between the jobs in our stores vs those in distribution centres.
“These differences, in skills and demands, as well as the different markets in which they operate, do lead to variations in rates of pay between stores and distribution centres – but these are not in any way related to gender.
“We will strongly defend these claims.”