Decision from European Court helps Tesco workers in fight for equal pay

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that workers making equal value claims can rely on rights set out in European law, as well as those available in domestic law.


The CJEU was asked to consider two questions about the application of EU law to equal pay claims. The basis of an equal pay claim is to compare the work done by person A to the work done by person B.


One of the difficulties for the supermarket equal pay claims is that the roles that need to be compared are typically carried out in different locations: store workers work in stores and distribution centre workers work in distribution centres. There is a rule in EU law that says that if both person A and person B are employed by a “single source” then the roles can be compared.


Tesco argued that the “single source” test should not apply in equal value cases like this one. The CJEU disagreed with Tesco and said that European law does apply to equal value claims. It also said that Tesco Stores “appears to [be…] a single source”.


The CJEU decision does not make a judgment about whether the roles are of equal value, but it does mean that the roles can be compared.


The judgment is available on the CJEU website here.