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I was the Head of Policy and Public Affairs at UNISON Scotland until my retirement in September 2018. I now work on several policy development projects, so all views are very definitely my own. You can also follow me on Twitter. I hope you find this blog interesting and I would welcome your comments.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Equal pay ruling

Great decision from the Employment Appeal Tribunal in Edinburgh on equal pay that will benefit thousands of low paid council workers.

Many manual workers such as cleaners, cooks and carers have already received compensation, but previous decisions of the EAT removed the right to compensation from thousands of administrators, clerical workers, learning assistants and library staff.

In the absence of a proper explanation for the pay differences between women and men, local authorities developed a technical argument that women and men only deserved equal pay if they were based in the same premises or had the same pay and conditions. This argument has now failed.

UNISON General Secretary, Dave Prentis has summed up our position:

“I am delighted that UNISON has opened up this route to justice for so many of our members. There is no place for employers to run or hide. UNISON’s equal pay campaign has defeated every contrived defence their lawyers have hidden behind. This charade has gone on too long. We want full compensation for all our members and that money must be paid now”

One of UNISON’s largest group of winners from the decision are classroom assistants, many of whom earn as little as £10,000 a year. We estimate that this Edinburgh decision will affect up 70,000 workers across the UK and while claim values will vary from person to person, some will exceed £30,000.

The UK government coalition agreement states;
"We will promote equal pay and take a range of measures to end discrimination in the workplace."
So we look forward to a government minister welcoming this decision.

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