Women win seven-year pay battle

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Indy Politics
THE Equal Opportunities Commission yesterday attacked 'grotesquely complex' laws that forced five women to fight for seven years before winning equal pay.

The women, who worked as administrators and financial clerks at a vehicle dealer, yesterday received a total of pounds 15,000 after a tribunal found that their work was of equal value to a job held by a man who worked as a parts salesman, a van driver and a car cleaner.

Last week, H & J Quick, a Ford dealer in north-west England, withdrew its appeal against the decision and paid them the difference in wages. Only one woman still works for the company.

Elizabeth Whitehouse, the commission's lawyer who represented the women in court, urged ministers to use the Employment Bill going through Parliament to simplify equal pay laws and 'make the whole system more accessible to women who are being underpaid simply because of their sex'.

She said that people often questioned the commission about the fact that women still earn on average 22 per cent less than men. 'One look at the situation in Quicks and you can see why. The administrative jobs were all considered to be women's work and paid less than the jobs traditionally done by men.'

She also condemned the grotesquely complex procedures which resulted in the battle taking seven years to resolve.