UK's largest equal pay claim proceeding at pace 

Following the Court of Appeal's dismissal of Asda's second appeal earlier this year (in Asda Stores Ltd v Brierley and others [2019] EWCA Civ 44), Manchester Crown Court has begun its substantive hearing of group equal pay litigation brought by thousands of supermarket workers. As a reminder, the Court of Appeal recently found that the claimant group, most of whom are female retail workers, are entitled to compare themselves with other mostly male Asda colleagues, working in separate distribution depots for equal pay purposes. In short, this landmark ruling meant that Asda's predominantly female retail workforce could now proceed with their substantive claim against their employer.

The result is that almost 30,000 retail shop floor workers (through the website www.equalpaynow.co.uk) are now being represented in equal pay cases against Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrisons and the Co-Op. The hearing will run from 13th to 24th May and from 3rd to 7th June. If found liable, the big five supermarkets could be on the hook for back-payments totaling more than £8 billion over the previous six years. This is definitely one to watch closely; the undervaluing of work traditionally viewed as “female” continues to cast a long shadow throughout UK businesses and we could see further group claims across other parts of the retail sector and indeed other sectors.

Home Office abolishes passenger landing cards and expands the use of ePassport gates to seven more countries The UK Government has introduced the following two measures, both effective as of 20 May 2019, in an effort to further digitalise border control and to make the process of entering the UK smoother:

  • all non-EEA travellers are no longer required to fill in landing cards upon arrival in the UK; and
  • visitors from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States will be able to use ePassport gate at ports across the UK.

Non-EEA visitors allowed to use ePassport gates should still have their passports stamped by an Immigration Officer if they are coming to the UK for a specific purpose.

Listed below are instances in which you should have your passports stamped:

  • for short term study of up to 6 months;
  • with a Tier 5 Creative and Sporting Certificate of Sponsorship for short-term assignments (up to 3 months);
  • to carry out Permitted Paid Engagements; and
  • as the family member of an EEA national seeking to join them permanently in the UK if you’re a national of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea or the USA.