A former HR director for the Co-op is suing the company after claiming she was sacked for raising concerns over equal pay within the business.
Ex-HR director Sam Walker has brought a claim of equal pay, discrimination and unfair dismissal against the Co-op, which will be heard over the next two weeks during a tribunal in Manchester.
Ms Walker was appointed chief HR officer in February 2014 but later raised questions about equal pay in 2015 after comparing her salary to that of male executives. She was sacked the following year.
Ms Walker, who was joined at her tribunal by BBC journalist Carrie Gracie and Sam Smethers, the Fawcett Society chief executive, is believed to have been earning a base salary of £425,000 a year that would have ballooned to over £1 million once bonus earnings had been accounted for.
In a witness statement given to the tribunal Ms Walker said that in 2014 large pay increases were being given to board members in a bid to stop them from from leaving the company.
This included increases to the then general counsel, Alistair Asher, and chief external affairs officer, Nick Folland, who were paid £550,000, while she and the then chief strategy planning officer, Paula Kerrigan, were offered a salary of around £400,000.