16 November 2018

A former senior Co-op Group Executive has fought and won an equal pay battle with the Co-op Group, achieving a major victory in the battle for equal pay. Sam Walker also won her claim for unfair dismissal and her claim of direct sex discrimination in the way her performance was graded, without an adequate year-end appraisal.

Sam Walker said:

“This is a major victory for women. My case proves that pay discrimination can happen to anyone. I was in a senior position doing a job of equal value to my male senior colleagues, but I was paid significantly less. This is happening to women all over this country.

“Justice is however beyond the reach of most women who simply would not have the resources to bring a claim of this kind. This is why I am delighted to announce that I will be joining forces with Carrie Gracie, The Fawcett Society and YESS Law to support their initiative to help women earning £30k per year or less who are experiencing pay discrimination.

“The law needs to change. The Women and Equalities Select Committee is looking at this right now, but more fundamentally we need societal change – why would people want to work for companies who treat their employees differently?

“I want to thank my network of colleagues, family and friends who have supported me through the last three years of hell – and that includes many still employed by the Co-op (you know who you are). I now hope the Co-op responds to this ruling in a way that reflects its stated values, holds those accountable to account and listens to their other female employees who I hope will now feel able to step forward and demand equal pay.”

Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society said:

"Sam Walker has achieved a major victory but it has required great personal strength and resources to do so. Most women are simply unable to do what Sam has done.

"This case proves that when women challenge pay discrimination, they win. But so few women have access to justice. So few cases get to tribunal.

"This is why we have launched our Equal Pay Advice Service with YESS Law. Together we will ensure many more women get equal pay."

For more information or interviews contact Fresh communication:
Abby Richardson – [email protected] / 07876 378 733
Nathalie Golden – [email protected] / 07769 66 66 27

Notes to editors:
The full judgement is available here
Previous coverage of the case can be found here

Sam Walker and former BBC China Editor, Carrie Gracie will be appearing at the Fawcett Society Know our worth conference in London on 17th November.

The Equal Pay Advice Service is provided in partnership with YESS Employment Law and has been made possible by a donation from Carrie Gracie towards an Equal Pay Fund.
You can find out more about the Equal Pay Advice Service via the link below.

Donations to the Equal Pay Fund can be made via the link below.

About Us

The Fawcett Society is the UK’s leading charity campaigning with our members for gender equality and women’s rights at work, at home and in public life. Our vision is of a society in which women and girls in all their diversity are equal and truly free to fulfil their potential.

YESS is a charity which provides expert employment law advice. We are a team of lawyers offering affordable advice to employees and employers who want to resolve problems at work. We give realistic and practical legal advice on all employment issues with the sole aim of resolving the dispute. We never litigate. We focus on our client’s aims and use constructive dialogue to enable early resolution and keep stress and legal costs to a minimum.