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Annie Hayes

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£300m equal pay award, biggest ever

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Women who worked for North Cumbria NHS Trust fought their case for equal pay for eight years and finally reaped the rewards of their efforts yesterday scooping £300m, the biggest ever equal pay settlement on record.

The claims were lodged in August 1997 for 14 different jobs, using five different male comparators.

The women range from nurses to catering assistants, domestics, clerical officers, sewing machine assistants, porters and telephonists. They compared their pay with that of craftsmen/joiners, building labourers/wall washers, works officers, craftsmen supervisors and maintenance assistants.

The 1500 claimants stand to gain between £35,000 and £200,000 each for six years of back-dated pay. Some of the women will receive up to 14 years’ difference in pay. Interest of 50-60% will also be added.

General Secretary, Dave Prentis said:

“It’s been a long, hard struggle, but this is a fantastic result for the members involved. We have always argued, that there has been historic pay discrimination in the health service against women. It’s dreadful, though, that it has taken so long to get justice for these hard-working women who are the backbone of the NHS.

Christine Wharrier, UNISON local convenor, has worked at West Cumbria hospital for 28 years and is also a health care assistant, speaking after the result she said:

“It’s a great victory. Discrimination runs deep in the NHS especially for part-timers, who are mainly women workers. This win will be a boon for ancillary staff who will benefit because they are on really low pay and I could jump up and down for them – it’s wonderful.”

HRZone recently reported findings from an Equal Opportunities Commission survey that reveals the extent of discrimination that part-timers, who are mainly women experience.

According to the EOC, the seventy-eight per cent of Britain’s part-time workers who are female earn an average 40% less per hour than male full-time workers.

One Response

  1. Who else would support this
    I wonder if other readers can think of any other organisations other than trades unions that have successfully waged such campaigns? I would be grateful if people could cite examples of Company associations winning such cases. I would also be interested in examples where male managers have spontaneously investigated and rectified discriminatory pay levels.

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