Mostly female employees on the shop floor say they are paid less than their mostly male counterparts who work in Morrisons’ warehouses, and are now one step closer to getting better pay
Thousands of Morrisons staff are closer to getting £100million in extra pay after a new ruling at an employment tribunal.
The ruling, by judge Davies at Leeds Employment Tribunal, confirmed that Morrisons’ shop floor workers can compare their pay with staff in the supermarket’s distribution centre.
The 2,300 mostly female staff have been fighting for equal wages to the mostly male employees in warehouses worth around £100million.
In a Leeds employment tribunal yesterday, employment judge Davies said: “It is not necessary for the claimants at this stage to specify an RDC [Regional Distribution Centre] to be compared with each supermarket store.
“They rely on comparators working at all the RDCs and the question at this stage is therefore whether a worker from any of the RDCs who moved to a depot at any of the stores would be engaged on broadly similar terms. For the reasons outlined, I find that they would.”
The next step is for Leigh Day solicitors, working for the Morrisons staff, to argue that these roles are of equal value.
If that succeeds, Morrisons has to explain why the two roles should be paid differently – bar sex discrimination.
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Morrisons employee Liam Blight (not his real name) said: “It feels like we’re closer to getting the recognition we deserve.
“You can’t fill the shelves quick enough and then if you’re called to checkout there’s no one on the shop floor to stock the shelves so they’re left empty.
“Some customers are respectful, and they understand that you’re working your hardest, but others don’t care, and you get abuse because the shelves are empty.
“To put up with all of this and to be paid less than people in the distribution centre doesn’t seem fair. Yes, demand in the distribution centres is high but they don’t have the face-to-face interactions with the customers, they’re not getting the abuse and the confrontation.”
A Morrisons spokesperson said: “The decision does not decide if retail and logistics roles are of equal value. Morrisons pays a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work and will continue to fully defend these proceedings.”
Morrisons is not the only supermarket going through a similar legal challenge.
Earlier this month Sainsbury’s reached a similar point in its own pay dispute – also about checkout staff wanting to be paid in line with their warehouse colleagues.
In early September the supermarket admitted the roles of shop floor workers are as tough as higher-paid warehouse staff .
Staff in Sainsbury’s distribution centres can be paid £1.50 to £4 an hour more than those working stacking shelves or working on checkouts.
This adds up to a difference of thousands of pounds a year between the roles.
The 3,714 Sainsbury’s workers have brought equal value claims against the supermarket, arguing that their work is as demanding as distribution centre roles.
The supermarket now has to prove there is a reason for the pay gap that isn’t based on gender, or else show that the two roles are not equal in value.