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Equal Pay

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There has been another important development in the equal pay litigation, to which Andrew Short QC (instructed by Thompsons on behalf of the UNISON, GMB and Unite claimants) has asked me to draw people's attention.

An employment tribunal in Birmingham has just rejected the Genuine Material Factor defence of Birmingham City Council in an equal pay claim involving 4,000 female employees. The hearing, which took place in November and December 2009, considered the defence in relation to five comparator groups: refuse workers, grave diggers, road workers, road cleansers and gardeners.

In a 167 page judgment, the tribunal has rejected the defence in relation to each of the comparator groups. The litigation is the largest of the local authority claims arising out of the implementation of Single Status. Quantum has yet to be determined, and equal value remains in issue for some of the claimants, but has been estimated as potentially running into £100s of millions of pounds.