Many of council’s male employees are set to get an early Christmas present after South Tyneside Council was found guilty of discriminating against male employees in low paid jobs .
As a result of yesterday’s landmark ruling more than 12,000 men across the UK won the right to bring equal pay claims against their employers and the bill for these discriminatory practices will run into hundreds of millions of pounds.
In a test case, 300 men working as care assistants, caretakers, drivers and leisure attendants lodged discrimination claims against South Tyneside, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough Borough Councils.
Their claim was based on what they say are discriminatory bonuses paid to male workers in better paid jobs, such as gardeners and refuse collectors.
The men lodged their claims at the same time as those by women in low-paid jobs who were also claiming that the bonuses were discriminatory. The women succeeded in their claims and were offered financial settlements but the men had not and continued to be paid less both than the better paid men, and also the women.
Mr Justice Underhill, president of the tribunal, said: “The case where men and women do the same job but receive different rates of pay is the paradigm of the kind of situation which the Act was intended to prevent: how would it seem if – unusually, but not impossibly – the roles were reversed and the ‘piggyback’ claimants were not men but women?”
After the ruling, Yvette Genn, a barrister who specialises in equal pay law said: “This is an important decision as it demonstrates that equal pay laws can be applied not only by women who compare themselves with men, but also by men who are comparing themselves with better paid men. Even though women historically have received lower pay than their male counterparts, it is too often forgotten that the law applies equally to men as it does to women.”
Mr Monkey reckons local solicitors will be inundated with claims for equal pay by men who have worked for or are still working for South Tyneside Council – they’ve got nothing to lose especially as any legal fees they incur will have to be picked by the council.
IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A CLAIM IT’S WORTH TALKING TO A SOLICITOR AS WELL AS THE UNION – REMEMBER UNION OFFICIALS ARE VERY FRIENDLY WITH COUNCILLORS AND COUNCIL OFFICERS AND MAY NOT PUT YOUR INTERESTS FIRST.
It seems that the council’s chief executive, Irene Lucas knew the writing was on the wall and is jumping ship before the chickens come home to roost .