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Justice for low paid women at Bury council – finally

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Alison Clarke
WVoN co-editor

A council in England yesterday settled a long-running equal pay dispute with the union representing nearly 1,000 low-paid female staff.

Public sector union, UNISON, said that the women who included carers, cleaners and cooks were paid less than their male colleagues for doing work of equivalent value.

Bury was the first council targeted by Unison with mass litigation for equal pay in 2007 and estimates that it has wasted more than £1 million of public money by fighting the claims through the courts.

Yesterday’s settlement means that a Court of Appeal hearing, scheduled for March, will no longer go ahead.

UNISON Branch Secretary Steve Morton said:

“Nearly one thousand low paid women council workers are now a big step closer to the pay justice they deserve.

“It is the year 2012, more than 40 years after the Equal Pay Act, and women should have the right to expect fairness.

“The people who decided to lead Bury Council into expensive litigation, rather than negotiate reasonable settlements – as every other Greater Manchester Council did – have wasted more than a million pounds worth of public money. This money should have been spent compensating women rather than arguing with them.”

This agreement follows another in January when hundreds of women employed by Edinburgh city council won an equal pay settlement worth millions of pounds (see WVoN story).

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