Tesco is in front of the great Britain is the largest ever equal pay and a potential bill running to £4 billion.
Thousands of women who work in Tesco could receive back pay totalling £20,000 if the legal challenge demanding parity with the men who work at the company’s warehouse success.
The lawyers say hourly paid female store staff to earn less than men, even if the value of the work is comparable.
Tesco has said that he has worked hard to ensure that all employees have been paid “fair and equitable”.
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Paula Lee, of Leigh Day solicitors, the firm acting for 1 000 women who are likely to have to take a test case, told the BBC that it was time for Tesco to address the issue of equal pay for work of equal value.
The most common rate for women is £8 an hour whereas for men the hourly rate can be as high as £11 an hour, she added.
She said that it was a problem that had been “hiding in plain sight” for years.
“We believe that an inherent bias has allowed the store of the underpaid workers for many years,” she said.
“In terms of equal value to society, there really should be no argument that the workers in the shops, compared to those who work in the deposits, to contribute value at least equal to the large profits made by Tesco.
“The law has been there since 1984 – you can compare it with another job.
“It is 34 years to put your house in order; 34 years of having the advantage of paying unequally, 34 years old, you to pay decisions and the financial decision-making and 34 years hiding what is in plain sight.”Important bill?
Leigh Day has said that up to 200 000 supermarket workers could be affected, the majority of women.
Initial applications were filed with the conciliation service, ACAS – the first step in what is likely to be a long process in court by the employment tribunal system which could last several years.
Even if a small proportion of women who are successful, the bill for Tesco could be significant.
Birmingham city Council is now responsible for over £1 billion pounds in payment after settlement of an equal pay of women employed as maids, cooks and caregivers.
Their pay was below that of men in comparable jobs, such as bin collectors and road workers.
Tesco said that all their staff could progress equally and paid fairly, regardless of their gender or background.
“We are unable to comment on a claim that we have not received,” a spokesman said.
“Tesco has always been a place for people to get out of their career, regardless of their gender, origin or education, and we work hard to ensure that all our colleagues are paid fairly and equitably for the work they do.”‘Gaps’
Two workers for Tesco told the BBC that they wanted a fair treatment, arguing that their employment in the shops were also demanding that the jobs of the warehouse.
Pam Jenkins has worked for Tesco for 26 years.
“I think we should be put to their [the men],” she said.
“Obviously, the jobs are slightly different, but frankly they are of equal value.
“We have to deal with clients, they [the men] don’t have to do that. We have the load, we take the stock and load the stock, they remove the truck and we load it on the shelves.
“Women have struggled for equal rights and their voice to be heard 100 years, we are not just doing it for us, there are a lot of people there.
“We’re just trying to make sense of things and it’s a shame, we always have to fight in this day and age.”
Kim has been working for Tesco for 23 years.
“Although we believe that we have equal rights, there are times where there are differences and you can’t explain,” she said.
“And I think Tesco are one of the many companies that are not addressing the fact that women seem to be even less well paid.”
Ms. Lee stated that Tesco was a good employer, the signing of a number of gender equality projects over several years.
But she said the company – with many others – was still not reward people equally.