Since 2016 35,000 shopfloor workers at ASDA, who are predominantly female, have been arguing that they are entitled to be paid the same as their mainly male colleagues who work in the warehouses.
A recent decision by the Supreme Court advances their case and held that the roles of shop floor workers and warehouse staff can be compared for the purposes of assessing equal pay.
But there is more work to do before they actually achieve equal pay. Whilst we now know that the roles can be compared, the shopfloor workers now need to establish that roles actually merit equal pay, that the jobs are of equal value. It remains open to ASDA to argue that there is a material difference in the roles which justifies a difference in pay. One area to look at will be whether the roles require the same levels of skills and qualification.
The decision and the next stages will be closely watched by other retail businesses, including Tesco, Next and Sainsburys, who all face similar claims.