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The highest judicial body of the European Union, based in Luxembourg, recognizes the validity of the claims.
After hearing the matter by the Labor Court in Watford, UK, the case went to the CJEU. The applicants argued at Watford that their work in branches and Tesco stores was comparable to that of men employed in distribution centers of the distribution network and, although the work was done in various establishments, it was permissible under Article 157 TFEU. His work with these men. According to Art 157 TFEU, their working conditions and that of men employed in distribution centers can be traced to a single source, namely Tesco stores.
Tesco Stores states that Article 157 TFEU has no direct effect in works based on work of equal value. Therefore plaintiffs in the main proceedings cannot rely on Article 157 TFEU before the referring court. Furthermore, Tesco stores cannot be viewed as a “single source”. The Watford Employment Tribunal then said that there was uncertainty about Article 157 TFEU regarding its immediate effect in UK courts and sought help from the ECJ.
In advance, the ECJ ruled that, under Article 86 of the Withdrawal Agreement, it is responsible for the reference to the preliminary decision despite the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. The court upheld the plaintiff’s view and ruled that the grocery should be treated as a single entity with respect to the terms of employment and citing the principle of equal work. “In a legal dispute in which work of equal value is performed by employees of different sexes who have the same employer in different establishments of this employer, Art. 157 TFEU may be enforceable before national courts, provided that that the employer represents such a unified source”, the ECJ continued.
Watford Labor Court will now have to consider the ECJ’s decision when deciding the matter.
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