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Morrisons facing £1bn equal pay claim

| International retailers

Law firm Leigh Day confirmed yesterday that it is now bringing Equal Pay claims against all of the Big Four supermarkets after launching a claim against Morrisons.

The firm said it was seeking compensation for women working in Morrisons stores who believe they are paid less than men in the supermarket’s distribution centres for equal work. Leigh Day has now lodged claims with the conciliation service ACAS for eight staff while awaiting a response from Morrisons Chief Executive David Potts, who they have written to requesting pay and gender information for workers.

Leigh Day stated that Morrisons has around 80,000 store staff eligible to claim, and should the retailer’s actions be found to be unlawful, the final bill for back pay could be in excess of a billion pounds.

The law firm is already taking similar legal action on behalf of 30,000 staff working in Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco stores. These are currently working their way through the employment tribunal process. It was suggested earlier this year that Tesco could face a potential bill of up to £4bn if an equal pay claim against the retailer was successful.

Emma Satyamurti, partner in Leigh Day’s employment team, said: “We believe that Morrisons, as with the other major supermarkets, has underpaid those working in its stores for a number of years.  The big four supermarkets in the UK make vast amounts each year in profits – it is time that they faced up to their legal obligations under Equal Pay legislation.

“Our clients believe that those working on the shop floor should be paid the same as those in the distribution centres, and a failure to commit to this is not only unfair but unlawful.”

Responding to the news, a spokesperson for Morrisons said: “We are not aware of any court proceedings issued by a third party. We have received a letter asking us a number of questions about our pay policies. Our aim is to pay our colleagues fairly and equally for the job that they do, irrespective of their gender.”

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