Group claim for equal pay made

Co-op worker Christine Green.
Co-op worker Christine Green.

A Pointon woman is among a group of Co-op Group Limited store employees, mostly female, who are claiming that their work is of equal value to that of men who work in the distribution centres.

Law firm Leigh Day is acting for more than 100 employees, current and fortmer, in a group claim for back pay up to six years.

The difference in hourly pay for a shop floor worker and a distribution centre worker at the Co-op can range from £1.50 to £3. Lawyers believe the average worker could be entitled to £10,000 in back pay up to six years.

Co-op supermarket worker Christine Green, 57, of Pointon, was one of the women to start the equal pay case.

Christine has worked at the Co-op for six years, first in Billingborough, and currently at the Sleaford store.

She said: “I enjoy working at the Co-op, it’s a great place to have a job. But the way I look at it, those of us who work ‘front-of-house’ on the shop floor, deserve a fair wage for what we do. And to my mind, that means equal pay with those workers in the distribution warehouses. In our jobs we are under constant pressure; I want equal pay for everyone working front-of-house.

“The Co-op needs to ask, are we being fair to all the people we are employing?”

The first hearing for the claim was held at Manchester Employment Tribunal last Friday.

A Leigh Day spokesman said since the hearing it has been contacted by more than 500 Co-op workers interested in bringing claims including customer team members and team leaders.

Co-op workers who want to find out whether they are eligible to bring claims can find out more at www.equalpaynow.co.uk, they added.

A Co-op Group Limited spokesman said: “We have received a small number of equal pay claims. Unlike some of the bigger food retailers, we do not have large scale multiple claims. It wouldn’t be appropriate to comment on individual claims, but we will be defending these claims and are confident that our reward practices are fair.”