UK retailer Tesco faces £4 billion claim over unequal pay for women

Lawyers argue that Tesco’s in-store employees, who are largely women, are paid far less than those in the male-dominated distribution centers, even though their work is of equal value to the company.
Updated 07 February 2018

UK retailer Tesco faces £4 billion claim over unequal pay for women

LONDON: British supermarket chain Tesco is facing legal claims that it is paying women less than men for work of equal value, in a case that lawyers estimate could ultimately cost it as much as £4 billion (SR20.9 billion) in compensation payments.
Law firm Leigh Day said Wednesday it has begun filing claims with the employee conciliation service Acas on behalf of 100 women, but the case could eventually apply to more than 200,000 Tesco workers.
“We believe an inherent bias has allowed store workers to be underpaid for many years,” said Paula Lee of Leigh Day. “In terms of equal worth to the company there really should be no argument that workers in stores, compared to those working in distribution centers, contribute at least equal value to the vast profits made by Tesco.”
The lawyers argue that in-store employees, who are largely women, are paid far less than those in the male-dominated distribution centers, even though their work is of equal value to the company.
Tesco said it had not yet seen the claim, but that it works hard “to make sure all our colleagues are paid fairly and equally for the jobs they do.”


UK retailer Debenhams goes into the red again

Updated 10 April 2020

UK retailer Debenhams goes into the red again

  • Debenhams’ 142 UK stores are closed with Britain in coronavirus lockdown

LONDON: British department store group Debenhams went into administration for the second time in 12 months on Thursday, seeking to protect itself from legal action by creditors during the coronavirus crisis that could have pushed it into liquidation.

With Britain in lockdown during the pandemic, Debenhams’ 142 UK stores are closed, while the majority of its 22,000 workers are being paid under the government’s furlough scheme. It continues to trade online.

The retailer went into administration for a first time in April last year, wiping out equity investors including Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, and is now owned by a lenders consortium called Celine UK NewCo. 

Debenhams said administrators from FRP Advisory would work with the existing management team to get the UK business into a position to re-open and trade from as many stores as possible when restrictions are lifted by the government.

Chief Executive Stefaan Vansteenkiste said that he anticipated the firm’s owners and lenders would make additional funding available to fund the administration period.

However, the group’s business in Ireland looks doomed.

Debenhams said that it expected administrators to appoint a liquidator to the 11-store Irish operation, which employs 2,000.

The moves makes Debenhams the first major retail casualty of the health crisis in Ireland, where the government, as in the UK, has closed all non-essential shops.

Ireland on Monday reported a trebling of its unemployment rate to 16.5 percent with a further surge expected later in the month.

“We are desperately sorry not to be able to keep the Irish business operating but are faced with no alternative option in the current environment,” said Vansteenkiste.