What a load of *****!

In the news today is a story about Tesco being sued for pay disparity – or sexual discrimination.
Apparently, men working at the distribution warehouse are paid £11 an hour, while women on the shop floor (Supermarket shop floor, not factory) are only paid £8 an hour.  Shock, horror!

Only…

They are paid £8 an hour in the store, whether they work on the tills, in the petrol station, stack shelves, pick for home deliveries, or move cages in the ‘warehouse’ at the back of the store.

I know of a man (we’ll call him Ted) who works in the store, doing all of the above tasks – and has even unloaded lorries.  All for £8 an hour.
Should the women win their claim, they could – potentially – be awarded back pay at the new rate, and get £11 an hour for all future work – and Ted will still be on £8 an hour.
And they call it equality!

Sorry, but Ted is doing the same job as them – he is entitled to the same pay.  So for this claim to be ‘legal’, Tesco will have to increase the pay for ALL staff.  Or face a mass exodus of staff.

It is already the case that certain jobs get a higher rate of pay: delivery drivers, for instance.  They get around 40p an hour more, because the job is far more than just driving.  They are responsible for vehicle safety, customer safety, customer satisfaction, public relations, and have the authority to make refunds, and can – in the right circumstances – even give stock away.
In many ways, the drivers have as much authority and responsibility as managers – and they get 40p an hour more for it.

Should the case succeed, will drivers get a pro rata increase, too?  Will their wage go up to £11.40 an hour, or just the women?
Of course, the female drivers can argue that they do the same job as the HGV drivers who bring stock from the warehouse to the store – should they get the same hourly rate?

I’m fully committed to equal pay.  I absolutely support the idea that the same work should get the same reward.

But warehouse staff do NOT do the same job.  Ted has worked in the warehouse, too.  He knows what both jobs entail.  In some ways, one job is easier, in other ways the other is harder.  There are similarities between the two, and there are differences, too.

But the biggest difference?  When Ted worked in the warehouse, he worked nights.  At time and a half.  One and a half times 8 is 12 – so the warehouse staff are underpaid by £1 an hour!

I really don’t think any half-intelligent judge would adjudicate in favour of the women on this one, so I’m not worried about my Tesco shares losing value.

Well, not too worried, anyway…



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