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Anyone else think the action against Tesco is important?

(71 Posts)
CanalTrip Thu 08-Feb-18 20:39:07

The legal challenge to Tesco about the disparity in salaries of workers in the shop, largely women, and workers in the warehouses, largely men, looks enormously important for lower paid women in jobs historically carried out by women.

This is the first step in what is probably going to be a long and painful legal, but also psychological battle to uncover people's unconscious biases.

UpstartCrow Thu 08-Feb-18 20:58:32

''Women launch £4BILLION lawsuit against Tesco for equal pay
The claimants calculate that men are making £5,000 more a year for the same hours than women thanks to different pay for male-dominated jobs''

www.mirror.co.uk/money/women-launch-4bn-law-suit-11983600

Basically, the men who unload the stock from the lorry into the warehouse are paid significantly more than the women who load it from the warehouse on to the shelves.
I see this as a test case for other supermarkets.

rwalker Thu 08-Feb-18 20:59:47

I don't get it both jobs are open to men and women. Men and women work along side each other in the warehouse get paid the same as do women and men who work in the shop get paid the same . Worked in kiwi save many years ago and found the warehouse a lot harder than shop floor, they are 2 different jobs each with different challanges .The argument is that both jobs bring value to the business and one is no more important than the so should be paid the same .Who applies for the job women or men is nothing to do with Tesco the real case should be equal jobs equal pay .how is it the employers fault if a high percentage of 1 gender apply for certain roles .I work for a communication provider which has had massive recruitment drive on the engineering side outside cold dirty work and think 20% of applications were from women ,so less female applied so natrualy unless they take on every single women that applied there will be less females . But as a company they have been told women are under represented how is that the companies fault

UpstartCrow Thu 08-Feb-18 21:06:17

Just because you can apply for a job does not mean you will get it.

HairyBallTheorem Thu 08-Feb-18 21:12:26

It's the "work of equal value" test - if the Tesco women can demonstrate that they do a sufficiently similar job, they should win. The Dagenham case was about whether women's work as sewing machinists was equally skilled as men working in the paintshop. guide to the legal details here

I think from what I've read that the jobs are sufficiently similar. (Incidentally, there's an almost identical case being brought against Sainsburys so this isn't an isolated practice).

Anyway, more power to their elbow. I've been where they are now - had to take my then employer to court, and eventually got a pay rise of about 12%.

birdsdestiny Thu 08-Feb-18 21:14:41

I think it's most of the major supermarkets.

Lanaorana2 Thu 08-Feb-18 21:15:37

I hope the women win.

SonicVersusGynaephobia Thu 08-Feb-18 21:21:26

I am watching this case with keen interest. I think they have an good case and a reasonable point. The work is of similar value,if anything, working in the closer proximity to the customers is more stressful and valuable.

But then, women are expected to be nice, helpful and accommodating for free.

CanalTrip Thu 08-Feb-18 21:55:32

rwalker - in what way was the warehouse work harder? Was it physically harder?

katmarie Thu 08-Feb-18 22:26:24

It's never as simple as 'less women apply so there will be less women in the role'. There are often detailed and complex reasons for the demographics within roles, such as how and where the job is advertised, the level of flexibility offered, what the application process is like, when and where the interviews are held. All of those can have an impact on who applies, and small things within that process can put people off, so that it looks like women aren't interested in the role so don't apply.

In the case of the tesco action, the point is that the warehouse is predominantly male, and the shop floor is predominantly female, although the work is very similar. Yes there are men on the shop floor, and women in the warehouse but it's about majority numbers. The argument is the work is of equal value, so should be paid equally. I believe asda and sainsburys are facing similar cases. I will be watching with interest, these cases could have a major impact on wages and equal rights across retail and possibly other industries too.

QuentinSummers Thu 08-Feb-18 22:29:43

I think it's interesting too. Have yet to hear the justification for why warehouse operatives deserve more money.
Dealing with arsey customers all day sounds way more taxing and requiring of skill to me.

HairyBallTheorem Thu 08-Feb-18 22:34:14

I have a family member who works nights in the warehouse (in a supermarket chain not yet named) partly 'cos he can't stand arsey customers grin.

rwalker Thu 08-Feb-18 22:38:43

Using pump pallet movers, unloading roller cage from the back of lorries in the rain and snow been outside in the loading bays in cold weather . working in walk in freezers for hours , loading and using cardboard compactors/balers .We had take drag the stock to the shop floor on the pallet where the staff both men and women on the shop floor stacked it onto the shelves 1 or 2 cans at a time . Working on the deli the biggest thing you lifted was the ham onto the slicer.
I agree there is inequality in pay in these jobs both have value to the business . But a man working in the warehouse wage would be the same as a women in the warehouse . There is an issue with equal pay between warehouse and shop floor work but it's not gender related . The man does not get paid more than the women working along side him in the warehouse they get same paid for the same job

HairyBallTheorem Thu 08-Feb-18 22:45:47

"I agree there is inequality in pay in these jobs both have value to the business "

But that's the whole crux of the law on this. If (through historical accident, or tradition or whatever) one job which is predominantly male is deemed by the courts to be of equal value to one which is predominantly female, then they should be paid the same. I think it was Lass (who used to be a regular on here) who pointed out that it doesn't have to be all women versus all men, just predominantly one rather than the other.

(Heavy lifting is an interesting issue - yes, jobs which require heavy lifting are often male - but not always. Nursing, traditionally seen as one of the most feminine of professions, involves a hell of a lot of heavy lifting of patients. What stands out in all of this is that the tasks which magically turn out to be deemed worthy of more money are almost always the ones society has labelled as "masculine" ones.)

UpstartCrow Thu 08-Feb-18 22:50:03

The warehouse uses power lifts for heavy pallets.
The shelf stackers have to break the pallets open and put hundreds of items on shelves in a specific pattern.

I dont see how one pays less than the other.

SweetGrapes Thu 08-Feb-18 22:53:34

Watching with great interest. Hope they win.

QuentinSummers Thu 08-Feb-18 22:56:26

So basically rwalker your argument is that strength and the ability to operate large machinery is a more valuable skill than being able to operate small machinery and deal successfully with people.
Why? Why are/should the first set of things be more valuable than the second? They all require training and the development of some skill.

LangCleg Thu 08-Feb-18 22:58:34

I hope they win, too.

Tesco is paying the basic level staff two different sets of wages, based on the higher wage going to the area staffed mostly by men and the lower wage going to the area staffed mostly by women.

(And in-store staff do a lot more than sit on the tills, some of which is pretty physical.)

RaySwan Thu 08-Feb-18 22:59:10

“Break the pallets open”
You mean take off the plastic wrapping surely? Although I do agree that it’s hard to quantify which work is worth more, the front of shop or the back. Apart from the physical aspect.

UpstartCrow Thu 08-Feb-18 23:01:52

RaySwan
Have you tried opening 20 commercially packed pallets per shift and stacking the shelves? Staff are issued with heavy duty cutting tools and knee pads.

RaySwan Thu 08-Feb-18 23:06:27

No I haven’t but I’ve done far harder jobs I can promise you that and I was paid more as a result.

sashh Thu 08-Feb-18 23:07:27

I think it's really important.

rwalker Jobs that are traditionally female tend to pay less than those traditionally male. Tesco couldn't operate without both those jobs, just because you found the whorehouse harder doesn't mean it is, or that someone else wouldn't find it harder.

BTW this morning I got an invite to the General meeting on the 28th, I have never attended one but I'm wondering whether I should.

Akire Thu 08-Feb-18 23:13:48

I think it’s good way forward, I don’t know how you change culture. Like most carer and childcare jobs want basic post 16 qualifications for say 2years. Want experience and high quality “ask” yet happy to pay mim wage. I don’t know any more male equalivant jobs were so much is asked and demand for
Mim wage.

The only exception is cleaning where it’s seen as a scandle to
Be paid less than £15 an hour to clean a loo. Yet if you are scrapping poo off an actual elderly person and having to comfort them it’s mim wage all the way.

mummybear701 Fri 09-Feb-18 00:09:15

I experienced this myself in a council, mostly women jobs paid less than binmen, maintenance men, etc. There was even a case at the Supreme Court recently, North and Others I think.

Is it somehow different for the private sector?

UpstartCrow Fri 09-Feb-18 00:13:01

RaySwan Thats great, what does that have to do with women being paid less for comparative work?

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