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Equal Pay: Genuine Material Factor

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[Thanks to Catherine Rayner, junior Counsel for Unite, for providing this case summary]

In Coventry City Council -v- Nicholls & ors, the EAT have held that the Council's GMF defences were rightly rejected by the employment tribunal.

The EAT dismiss Coventry’s argument that their liability for pay inequality arising from historical differences in male and female pay ended when the trade unions rejected a proposed new pay structure as part of single status. The EAT noted that the hostile stance of the trade union to proposed changes in a pay structure could not be considered either as the cause of pay inequality, or as a supervening cause which could bring the liability of an employer for pay inequality to an end.

The EAT also upholds findings of the ET that a bonus scheme paid to a largely male group of refuse workers was discriminatory, and not justified, and remitted the question of the legality of a pay protection scheme which protected only workers who had actually lost pay, as opposed to those largely female groups who would have lost pay but for the pay inequality, to the ET for further consideration.