From time to time I shop in Tesco’s various stores around Bedford. Invariably I check out my own shopping, it saves time, and I required no training for the task. I spent many years as an executive in the logistics sector, and the idea that the work of a checkout person is equivalent to that of a warehouse worker is nonsense on stilts. If women want to be paid the same as warehouse workers, they should become warehouse workers, and face all the things that make working in warehouses a less attractive job, including unsocial hours, and the need to operate expensive equipment competently and safely. A piece by Robert Miller in today’s Times, emphases ours:
Tesco is facing a demand for up to £4 billion in back pay from thousands of mostly female shop floor staff in what could become Britain’s largest claim for equal pay.
Leigh Day, a law firm, has launched a legal action on behalf of almost 100 shop assistants who say that they earn as much as £3 an hour less than male warehouse workers in similar roles. [J4MB: They’re not similar roles. If they were, more women would want to do them.]
Up to 200,000 shop floor 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.
Paula Lee, a Leigh Day lawyer who is representing the women, told The Guardian that the most common rate of pay for women was £8 an hour, while for men it could be as high as £11 an hour.
“We believe an inherent bias has allowed store workers to be underpaid over many years,” she said. “There might be lifting and carrying in the distribution centre but there is also lifting and carrying in shops as well as dealing with customers asking questions and handling money.” [J4MB: The ‘lifting and carrying’ in shops will be much less than in warehouses. As for ‘customers asking questions and handling money’, well, that requires high-level skills, doesn’t it? These women must be paid the same as warehouse workers, because vagina.]
The first claims are being submitted through Acas, the conciliation service, before proceeding to employment tribunal. Similar actions against Asda and Sainsbury’s are in the employment tribunal process.
A Tesco spokesman said: “We are unable to comment on a claim that we have not received. We work hard to make sure all our colleagues are paid fairly and equally for the jobs they do.”
Among the insightful comments, some from ‘Nikki’:
Male and female workers that are shop assistants are paid the same.
Male and female workers that work in the warehouse are paid the same.
Logic conclusion: shop assistant role is paid less than warehouse worker.
Post modernist conclusion: because there are more female shopping assistants and there are more male warehouse workers it is a sexism plot to pay men more.
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