Tesco is currently facing a 4 billion pay claim for discrimination. The case centres around the fact that distribution staff are paid more than cashiers, and the distribution staff are predominantly male while the cashiers are predominantly female. Leigh Day, the law firm representing those bringing the case are arguing this is in conflict with the equal pay act and that both jobs have equal worth to the company. One question that arrives from this is why stop at distribution workers, could they not argue that the person interacting with the customer and taking cash for the company is actually selling the deal, and therefore of equal worth to those in procurement, or even the CEO ?
Other questions is why this case was as predictable as it is erroneous.
The jobs in question in the equal pay case are very different. The cashiers job involves sitting at a checkout in a climate controlled building and scanning items and taking payment for the goods. It may also include duties such as stacking g shelves. The distribution job is warehouse work. It involves working outside and inside the building. It involves warm tempters in summer and cold conditions in winter. It involves being exposed to rain and snow. It involves interacting with delivery drivers, using equipment that require qualifications to operate to unload the lorries, moving heavy weights and playing a game of giant tetris on a daily basis to fit everything in a limited space. If the two jobs involved the same physical labour, one could have expected many female cashiers to apply for distribution jobs in order to gain a pay rise, the fact this has not happened is in its self evidence there are clear differences in the requirements of both jobs.
So why was the case inevitable ?
Over the past few years Tesco has became increasingly misandric. Granted all shops carter more to women than men as their primary demographic, and therefore it is no surprise to anyone that floor space dedicated to women’s clothes in Tesco is quadruple that dedicated to men’s clothes. Also the space dedicated to female hygiene and grooming far outweighs that provided for men. This has always been the case. However Tesco has gone farther. The singe for parking has changed from blue (part of their corporate colour scheme) to pink. They have removed the picture of a man from the parents and children parking spaces. The self service tills have the depiction of woman and the icons on the trolleys have no picture of a man. This might have been able to be passed of as rebranding and simplifying the images but the change of name from “mansize tissues” to extra large tissues shows that Tesco has some problem with the word man or depicting men as anything good. All of this went unchecked, nobody at this large company, or its consumer base found any of this to be problem. Had any of it been pointed out the person pointing it out would be accused of being petty and stated the issues were unimportant. However where sexist attitudes go unchecked, they escalate.
Then came the advertisement campaign depicting domestic abuse against a man.
Tesco are currently running a advertisement for Fish Cakes. You can view the video
In the video the woman makes her partners favourite meal, while saying she will make her partner watch her eat it, while complaining to her friend that he forgot something. To be clear, this falls under the UK Definition for domestic abuse as controlling cohesive behaviour. That Tesco allowed their brand to be represented by a woman showing this level of power and control over her partner, with zero exception of backlash shows that Tesco see men as less than human. I ask you, would any company use a man withholding food, out of spite or revenge, from a woman, or even a dog ? The obvious answer is no, as this would damage the brand.
Using this video as advertisement, shows that Tesco are oblivious to hardships faced by men.
Therefore how could anyone immersed in this culture see the difficulties of working in inhospitable conditions, see the cost on the body of physical toil, and realise that such work commands a premium, when they do not value the people doing said work, because of their gender. This culture leads to ignoring the hardships, and demanding the premium paid to these men, without enduring the hardship.