A group of 172 workers across the big four supermarkets in Carlisle have joined a legal fight for equal pay which could award each of them an average of £10,000 in back pay.

The staff work across the seven Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons stores throughout Carlisle.

These shop floor workers are among the 50,000 supermarket workers involved in law firm Leigh Day’s Equal Pay Now campaign.

In a recent survey commissioned by Leigh Day, nine out of 10 shop floor workers said they are more aware of issues in the workplace, such as equal pay, after working on the frontline during the pandemic.

In the survey of over 6,000 supermarket workers 96 per cent said they felt more confident bringing their equal pay claim knowing they were part of a group of thousands involved in the case.

Leigh Day believes that hundreds more supermarket workers across Carlisle are likely to be eligible to join the claim.

A partner in the employment team, Emma Satyamurti, said:"The pandemic has been an unsettling and stressful time for us all, but while we have navigated this unprecedented time, one of the things that has remained constant is the hard work of supermarket shop floor workers in Carlisle who put themselves at an increased risk to keep our fridges and cupboards stocked."

The claim is on behalf of hourly paid store-based staff, mainly women, who claim their work is of equal value to that of workers, mainly men, who work in the supermarkets’ distribution centres.

The difference in hourly pay for a shop floor worker and a distribution centre worker can range from £1.50 to £4 which could mean a disparity in pay of many thousands of pounds over a year.

Lawyers believe the average worker could be entitled to £10,000 for up to six years back pay. Some may be entitled to as much as £20,000.