LONDON Oct 14 Britain's no.3 supermarket chain
Asda could be forced to pay out millions of pounds to workers
after a group of employees were given the go-ahead to proceed
with a claim against the chain, which is owned by Walmart
An employment judge ruled on Friday that over 7,000 mostly
female Asda store workers can compare themselves to higher-paid
mostly male colleagues who work in distribution centres,
allowing their equal pay claim to proceed through legal
Asda said it maintained its position that the jobs were not
comparable, and that it was considering appealing against the
"We continue to strongly dispute the claims being made
against us," it said in a statement. "We believe that the
demands of the jobs are very different and are considering our
options for appeal."
The equal pay case comes as a blow to Asda as it seeks to
reverse a dramatic slump in sales, having lagged its peers for
two years and lost market share.
Law firm Leigh Day, representing the claimants, said in a
statement that Asda could owe workers over 100 million pounds
($124 million) in wages going back to 2002 should the case be
found in the claimants' favour.
It added that the ruling was encouraging for other claims it
is bringing on behalf of a group of 400 workers from another
British supermarket, Sainsbury's.
(Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Stephen Addison)