Tesco (LON:TSCO) is facing a demand for up to £4 billion in back pay from thousands of mainly female shopworkers, The Guardian has reported. In a separate development, the latest industry data revealed that Britain’s biggest supermarket had remained the fastest growing of the UK’s ‘Big Four’ grocers in the 12 weeks to January 28.
Tesco’s share price has fallen into negative territory in London this morning, having given up 0.88 percent to 198.15p as of 08:36 GMT. The stock is underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having added 0.66 percent to 7,188.64 points so far today, regaining some of the ground lost in the previous sessions’ selloff.
Tesco faces £4bn claim
The Guardian reported yesterday that law firm Leigh Day had launched legal action on behalf of nearly 100 shop assistants who say that they earn as much as £3 an hour less than male warehouse workers in similar roles. Up to 200,000 shopfloor staff could be affected by the claim, which could cost Tesco up to £20,000 per worker in back pay over at least six years.
The law firm has begun submitting claims through Acas, the conciliation service, as the first step before heading to the employment tribunal.
“We believe an inherent bias has allowed store workers to be underpaid over many years,” Paula Lee, a Leigh Day lawyer, told the newspaper. The Guardian also quoted Tesco as noting that it had yet to receive details of any claim.
The news comes after last month, easyJet’s (LON:EZJ) new chief executive Johan Lundgren asked for a pay cut to match the salary of his predecessor Carolyn McCall.
Latest Kantar data
In other Tesco news, the latest Kantar Worldpanel data showed that the grocer had remained the fastest-growing of the UK’s ‘Big Four’ supermarkets, with sales growing 2.6 percent in the 12 weeks to January 28. The company’s market share, however, continued to decline, dipping 0.3 percentage points to 27.8 percent.