The two roles of shop floor workers and warehouse staff at Asda can be compared for assessing equal pay, the Supreme Court has ruled.
The Supreme Court confirmed that the terms and conditions of shop floor staff and distribution centre workers can be compared with one another, even if the two groups of workers are not based at the same workplace.
This is not the end of the story however as the 35,000 shop floor workers who brought a claim against the supermarket still must prove the work they do is of “equal value”.
It is very likely that Asda will argue that there are key differences between the roles which therefore justified a difference in the pay between the two.
The 4 big supermarkets and lots of other major retailers have all been embroiled in long-running equal pay disputes with shop floor workers, who claim their work is of equal value as the work carried out by warehouse staff, whose roles attract a higher hourly rate of pay.
Due to the fact that the shop floor workers in the Asda case are mainly female, while the distribution staff are mainly male, this makes it an equal pay issue.
Depending on the eventual outcome of this case (and the next step will be to deal with the equal value issue) there could be big ramifications across the retail sector and potentially beyond.