Tesco facing legal action over staff pay reduction

Retail giant Tesco is facing a lawsuit linked to age and gender discrimination which has been brought by a group of long-standing employees who say that their pay has been unfairly cut.

The group allege they have suffered a reduction in pay for working nights, bank holidays and weekends as part of pay changes linked to a two-year pay deal confirmed in February of this year.

The deal, which included an altered approach to premium payments, also saw all Tesco employees receive time and a half for bank holiday and Sunday shifts as of July 2016. Workers who were negatively impacted by the pay changes were offered a lump sum worth 18 months of the difference in their pay amounts.

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According to Leigh Day, the legal firm representing the group of employees bringing the case against Tesco, the 17 employees joined the retailer before July 1999. The firm suggests that up to 37,500 hourly-paid staff, most of whom are aged 40-plus, have been negatively impacted by the pay changes.

Paula Lee, solicitor in the employment and discrimination department at Leigh Day, said: “Tesco employs 380,000 people in the UK and the decision to impose pay cuts on long-serving employees is a bitter pill for our clients to swallow and we believe is discriminatory. It is the longer-serving staff in these retail organisations who usually suffer.”

A Tesco spokesperson said: “Earlier this year we announced a pay increase of up to 3.1 per cent for colleagues working in our stores across the UK, in addition to a five per cent turnaround bonus. As part of the pay negotiations we also agreed to simplify premium payments to ensure a fair and consistent approach for all colleagues. The minority of colleagues who were negatively impacted by this change were supported with an agreed lump sum transition payment.”