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Paying labourers more than carers ruled sexist

The Court of Appeal has ruled that inequality between the pay of mainly female carers working for Sheffield City Council and their predominantly male colleagues doing equivalent jobs, like gardening and rubbish collection, was "tainted by sexism".

Lord Justice Pill said a bonus scheme introduced in the 1960s gave the council's overwhelmingly male manual workers extra pay to boost their productivity, whilst no bonuses were paid to carers and others doing traditionally female jobs. The council now faces having to compensate women carers who have been paid up to 38 per cent less than men for decades. It was cleared of discrimination by an employment tribunal last year.

The tribunal had dismissed the carers' equal pay claim on the basis that the reason for the disparity in male and female pay was that "men's work can be measured to provide a benchmark for productivity and the women's work cannot". But the Appeal Court found the women were victims of "indirect" sex discrimination.