Seventeen Tesco employees are making age and gender discrimination claims against Tesco after the supermarket cut its pay rates for unsocial working hours.
The group of employees – all of whom started working for Tesco prior to 1999 – are taking legal action after the supermarket cut its rates for pay for Sundays and bank holidays from double time to time-and-a-half. Most of the estimated 38,000 staff affected by this change are male and over forty years of age – prompting the age and gender discrimination claims against Tesco.
The situation arose after negotiations between Tesco and the shop workers´ trade union Usdaw resulted in a 3.1% increase in basic pay. The company announced the increase in February and implemented it in July – making a lump sum “transition” payment equivalent to eighteen months of lost income to employees who were negatively impacted by the change.
Nonetheless, after seeking legal advice, the employees have decided to continue with age and gender discrimination claims against Tesco – a decision explained by the group´s solicitor, Paula Lee. Speaking with the Guardian, Lee said that the Tesco´s imposition of pay cuts on long-serving employees was a bitter pill to swallow and represented discrimination against older, predominantly male employees.
She continued: “It is the longer-serving staff in these retail organisations who usually suffer. Understandably our clients feel their loyalty is being taken advantage of; that the employer knows they are unlikely to leave their jobs and, in turn, that makes them feel vulnerable to further ‘no choice’ pay cuts.”
A spokesperson for Tesco said: “Earlier this year we announced a pay increase of up to 3.1% for colleagues working in our stores across the UK, in addition to a 5% turnaround bonus. As part of the pay negotiations we also agreed to simplify premium payments to ensure a fair and consistent approach for all colleagues”.
Tesco is not alone in facing age and gender discrimination claims from dissatisfied employees. A similar dispute relating to pay cuts at Marks & Spencer is ongoing, while legal action is being prepared on behalf of employees involved in discrimination claims against Sainsburys and Asda.