Asda Equal Pay Claims
More than 400 employees of Asda are bringing what has been described as a ‘test case’ for Equal Pay. The predominantly female claimants insist that their jobs as store staff are of equal value to positions in Asda distribution centres which are mainly held by men and which are higher-paid.
It is expected that the case will be heard by the employment tribunal in Manchester within the next two months and if successful, the employees could be awarded several years’ back pay for the difference in earnings.
Other large supermarkets will no doubt be keeping a very close eye on the outcome!
Equal Pay Claims are not exclusive to Women
Equal pay claims are not only for women however, a group of males employees working for the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) have succeeded in their claims for equal pay.
The men, who were all employed as caretakers and maintenance staff by Swansea Metropolitan University (SMU), which merged with UWTSD last year, argued that they were the victims of sexual discrimination, as they had been paid less than women on the same pay scale since 2007.
UWTSD had initially defended the claims, stating that the reasons for the difference in pay were due to contractual changes by SMU that they had no control over however, they have now conceded the claims. Following this victory it was also reported that further claims from other male members of staff are expected, which could see UWTSD paying out nearly ¾ of a million pounds in total.
What if overtime was illegal?!
If that sounds appealing then perhaps you should consider going to work in Europe (don’t tell Nigel Farage!).
In France, where they already have a 35 hour working week (as opposed to the UK’s 48 hours), employers’ federations and workers’ unions in the technology and consultancy sectors have signed a new labour agreement, aimed at preventing employees from having to work outside the hours of 9 am to 6 pm.
The deal, which will reportedly affect approximately 1 million employees, requires employees to switch off their work phones and avoid checking work emails after 6 pm. Employers who have signed up to the agreement must also ensure that they do not pressure staff to check their messages.
Germany’s labour ministry has also banned managers from calling or emailing staff out of hours except in emergencies.
Whilst some large companies, like Volkswagen, took the decision to block emails being sent to employees out of hours several years ago, there’s no indication the UK government intend to follow suit anytime soon. Even if they did, it is likely that there would be exempt professions (including lawyers – boo hoo!) and ‘opt-outs’ for senior executives – so don’t pack away your smartphone just yet!
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Please note that the information contained in this article was correct at the time of writing. There may have been updates to the law since the article was written, which may affect the information and advice given therein.