Asda, which has stores in Morecambe and Lancaster, could be facing pay claims from more than 7,000 shop workers following a recent decision by the Employment Tribunal in Manchester.
In November 2014 it was reported that around 1,000 equal pay claims had been lodged in the Employment Tribunals against Asda with thousands more in the pipeline.
The claims arose from female shop-floor staff who argued that they were being underpaid compared to their male colleagues employed in distribution centres for carrying out effectively the same role but in reverse.
Following the Employment Tribunal decision, shop workers can now proceed with claims for equal pay against the supermarket, which could cost Asda more than £100million dating back to 2002.
A spokesman for Asda said: “This decision by the employment tribunal does not determine the eventual outcome of the case. It relates to a technical preliminary issue of whether jobs in different parts of the business can be compared.
“The tribunal has yet to consider whether the jobs are of equal value in terms of their demands and if some jobs are, only then will the tribunal move on to consider the reasons for the differentials, including the existence of different market rates in different industry sectors. We continue to strongly dispute the claims being made against us.
“We believe that the demands of the jobs are very different and are considering our options for appeal.
“At Asda hourly-paid colleagues doing the same job in the same location are paid the same. Men and women doing the same job in our retail stores are paid the same. Men and women doing the same job in our distribution centres are paid the same.
“Pay rates in stores differ from pay rates in distribution centres for legitimate reasons, including the different market rates for different jobs in different sectors.”