Equality | Morrisons hit with legal action over gender pay gap

Morrisons hit with legal action over gender pay gap

British supermarket giant Morrisons has come under fire from female employees after it was revealed that they were allegedly not paid the same as men doing comparable jobs.

Law Firm Roscoe Reid, who represents a large number of those launching a case against the company, has stated that whilst a win could see Morrisons having to hand over an average of £15,000 in back payments, the plaintiffs are also looking to settle numerous other issues such as bonus schemes, holidays and sick leave.

Roscoe Reid Lawyer Ellie Pinnells told the BBC: "There is a clear case that female roles have been underpaid for a long time and employees are very likely to win their equal pay cases.

"Asda has tried to fight every point, but has had a string of defeats in the court. Let's hope Morrisons takes a different approach and tries to put an end to decade-long unfair pay on their shop floors."

Whilst the law firm claimed that the amount of women involved in the case may be in the thousands, Morrisons released a statement claiming that numbers were far lower, and that it disagrees with the claims.

"We are perplexed that this law firm is talking about 'thousands' of claimants as they have written to us recently with a significantly smaller list of claimants,” said a statement from the company.

"We believe we pay our colleagues fairly and equally for the job that they do, irrespective of their gender, and we will be defending this claim."

The recent allegations aren’t the first cases to be brought against Morrisons; back in September of 2018, the company was in the middle of a similar equal pay roaw after eight of its shop floor employees claimed that they were paid less than their warehouse-based colleagues.

At the time, Morrisons released a statement claiming that it aims, “to pay our colleagues fairly and equally for the job that they do, irrespective of their gender”.

Linda Wong, an Associate Solicitor at Leigh Day, who headed the action against Sainsbury’s, spoke exclusively to HR Grapevine about the importance of cracking down on employers evading equal pay.

She explained: “I think what this crackdown is in relation to is attacking the gender segregation that has been created in the workplace due to stereotypes - that is the most important thing.”

Wong went on to state that women’s roles have been undervalued for a long time, “simply on the basis that men are more [traditionally] seen as the breadwinners and, I suppose, there are structural issues that underline why gender pay gaps exist.” 

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