Thousands of female workers at Asda have received the right to make a £100m equal pay claim against the UK-based company.
An employment tribunal ruled that women working at different roles in the supermarkets are entitled to compare their pays with those of men working at the Asda warehouses, stated Birminghammail.co.uk.
If the women win their claim, the retailer would be compelled to restructure the salaries of 130,000 shop floor staff and compensate those who have been involved in this case since 2002.
It is estimated that the total cost may reach £100m.
According to lawyers, female workers were paid £1 to £3 an hour less than the male employees at its distribution centres, reported The Guardian.
Around 9,500 female employees of Asda signed up with law firm Leigh Day, who will represent them in the pay claim next year.
Leigh Day lawyer Lauren Lougheed was quoted by the publication as saying: “This is a dramatic victory for the workers we represent. Asda tried to argue that because the shops and distribution centres were in different locations, with different pay arrangements, that Asda could pay the men what they like.
“However, the employment tribunal found that Asda, the employer of both men and women, could have made sure that there was equal pay between men and women if they wanted to, but chose not to.”
Asda, however, refuted the claims. It was quoted by the publication as saying: “We believe the demands of the jobs are very different and are considering our options for appeal.
“At Asda, hourly paid colleagues doing the same job in the same location are paid the same. Men and women doing the same job in our retail stores are paid the same. Men and women doing the same job in our distribution centres are paid the same. Pay rates in stores differ from pay rates in distribution centres for legitimate reasons, including the different market rates for different jobs in different sectors.”