Asda could ‘face £1.2bn bill’ if it loses equal pay case

Almost 55,000 women staff at Asda have received a potential boost in their ongoing equal pay compensation claim which could hit the supermarket with a bill of up to £1.2 billion in historic payments.

According to an email from the claimants’ legal representative Leigh Day, which was leaked to ITV News, an independent expert has been scoring the jobs of Asda staff – mainly women working on the shop floor and their typically male colleagues in distribution centres – across 11 factors including knowledge and responsibility.

The email revealed the study found shopfloor staff scored slightly higher on average, with 453 points, than those in the distribution centre at 447.

The billionaire Issy Brother-owned supermarket will have to answer to why the male roles are paid between £1.50 to £3 more per hour if equal value is shown when the case comes to tribunal next year.

While the GMB union told ITV it could not comment on a leaked email, Nadine Houghton, GMB National Officer said: "The entire retail sector has been built on the structural discrimination of women,” and concluded that women's labour has been significantly undervalued and it's “about time that society wakes up”.

In 2021, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of women Asda employees who called for equal pay with warehouse colleagues.

Commenting on the ongoing case, an Asda spokesperson denied the case was a “decision on the question of equal value”.

“At Asda, male and female colleagues doing the same jobs in stores are paid the same and this is equally true in our distribution centres,” they said.

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