The UK’s Supreme Court has ruled that Asda shop floor workers can use those working in the retailer’s distribution centres as comparators.
The court has ruled that store-based roles can be compared to distribution centre roles for the purposes of an equal value assessment.
Asda store workers have claimed that they are paid less than most staff at the company’s distribution depots.
An employment tribunal, the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal had previously ruled that the roles could be compared.
The ruling is the first stage of Asda’s Equal Value lawsuit. The second stage, which is currently underway, focuses on whether store and distribution roles are of equal value.
The third stage will study if there is a reason, other than gender, why the roles should not be paid equally.
An Asda spokesperson said: “This ruling relates to one stage of a complex case that is likely to take several years to reach a conclusion.
“We are defending these claims because the pay in our stores and distribution centres is the same for colleagues doing the same jobs, regardless of their gender.
“Retail and distribution are very different sectors, with their own distinct skillsets and pay rates. Asda has always paid colleagues the market rate in these sectors and we remain confident in our case.”
In 2019, trade union GMB accused Asda of ‘threatening tens of thousands’ of workers with job cuts if they failed to sign Contract 6.
Under the contract, workers would be made to work on bank holidays for £9 an hour and would not be paid for any breaks.
GMB said the contract had previously been voluntary, but that workers had been warned of losing their jobs if they did not sign it.