A court case demanding Asda to give £225m of backdated pay to staff could set a precedent for wholesalers with symbol groups to set equal wages for employees.

An investigation by RN and its sister title Retail Express found wholesalers on average are paying female staff in centrally owned shops £1.11 less per hour than male warehouse operators. Equal pay legislation states wages for both genders in “equal value” roles must be the same.

In the case against Asda by law firm Leigh Day, the Employment Tribunal ruled that jobs in different parts of the business – shop workers and warehouse workers – could be compared. Asda is appealing this decision and the case continues.  According to the law firm, a successful claim would lead to 15,000 shop staff receiving five to six years’ worth of backdated pay worth on average £15,000 each.

Chris Benson, head of Leigh Day’s employment law team, said: “There are a lot of heads in the sand about this. Wholesalers with stores will know their structure is the same as Asda.”

Ellie Pinnells from law firm Roscoe Reid added: “The hunt is on to find more cases. Claims firms are trying to find other large retail cases.”

Read more: Gender pay gap revealed in wholesale and symbol groups