The Co-op’s former HR director has won a claim for equal pay and unfair dismissal.

Sam Walker argued she was dismissed after warning her superiors that the grocer could be paying men and women in the same roles differently and raising issues about her own salary.

Walker was paid less than other board members in 2014 and was told this was because she was new in her role. However, the tribunal found her role was rated as at least as high as or higher than male executives being paid more.

She added that in 2016 she told then chief executive Richard Pennycook that it was “not looking good” from an equal pay perspective and she thought The Co-op had a problem when it came to equal pay.

The tribunal found The Co-op “directly discriminated against the claimant on the ground of sex” but did not find Walker was sacked because of her gender. The grocer now faces a legal bill.