Female staff win equal pay deal at council

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The Independent Online

Nearly 1,000 women council workers including cleaners, carers and dinner ladies are to share a multi-million pound payout under a "historic" equal pay deal.

Unison said the agreement with Bury council settles a number of equal pay claims from women paid less than their male colleagues for doing work of equivalent value.

Bury was the first council that Unison targeted with mass litigation for equal pay in 2007. The union said the council "wasted" more than £1m of public money by fighting the claims through the courts.

The lengthy legal battle has included more than 30 days of tribunal and appeal tribunal hearings. The settlement means that a Court of Appeal hearing, scheduled for March, will no longer go ahead, said the union.

Steve Stott, a Unison official, said: "This is a great day for the low-paid women carers, cleaners, caterers and many others working for Bury council. They have been waiting long enough for pay justice. It's also an historical day – this is the first council that Unison targeted with a mass litigation case for equal pay, after it failed to take the issue of fairness seriously."