How can we help?


Tesco workers in equal pay case receive boost from European Court

A few months on from the landmark Supreme Court decision in the Asda equal pay claim, workers at Tesco have received a favourable judgment from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in their own equal pay case.  

Supermarket workers employed by Tesco (the majority of which are women) are seeking equal pay for work of equal value, compared to their (predominantly male) distribution centre colleagues, in a very similar set of circumstances to their counterparts at Asda 

The CJEU has determined that the ‘single source’ test under EU law does apply to UK businesses. This law states that those who work in different locations may be compared for the purposes of an equal pay claim, if there is a ‘single source’ for the terms and conditions of their employment.  

As Tesco is the ‘single source’ for the terms and conditions of both the supermarket workers and distribution centre workers, the CJEU found this law may be relied upon by the supermarket workers in their claim despite the different locations.   

As the question about whether the ‘single source’ test applied in this case was referred to the CJEU before the UK left the EU (it was originally referred in 2018), the judgment will be binding on future UK courts and tribunals. 

This decision is in line with the decision of the Supreme Court in the Asda case, which focused on the UK legal test for comparing workers in equal pay claims and means the Tesco case will now move on to the next phase 

The CJEU has determined that the ‘single source’ test under EU law does apply to UK businesses. 

Both this and the Asda equal pay claims will take some time to advance, with similar cases also progressing against Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Co-op. With Asda and Tesco both keen to continue to defend the claims, we will continue to see developments in this area for some time to come.  

Our employment lawyers regularly support clients with audit processes in order to support gender and ethnic pay reporting. Contact our employment team for support.  

About this article

This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

About this article