News that from Monday employees in Tesco Express and Metro stores will be expected to undertake cleaning duties is a stark reminder that these staff are undervalued, overlooked and vulnerable to stereotypical assumptions.

Cleaning is often characterised as women’s work, and reinforces the belief that retail work is a female role. There have been no such reports of similar measures being implemented in the distribution centres.

This is a matter of health and safety and should not be seen as an opportunity to reduce costs. The decision is particularly galling when it has been widely reported that supermarket sales have been at a record high during Coronavirus.

For years, Leigh Day has been acting on behalf of store workers, most of whom are women, who we claim are paid unfairly in comparison to their predominantly male distribution centre colleagues.

We hear first-hand from our clients, how physically and emotionally demanding retail work already is, and this is an added pressure that staff shouldn’t have to meet. Instead of having more work piled on top of them, store workers should be given the recognition, respect and pay they deserve.

Lara Kennedy, Solicitor