Dumfries and Galloway public sector workers win historic equal pay case

Hundreds of female public sector workers in Dumfries and Galloway are celebrating after winning a Supreme Court case against Dumfries and Galloway Council in a fight for equal pay.

Full report: Historic win for female workers in equal pay case

Hundreds of women employed by Dumfries and Galloway Council have won the right to equal pay, after the Supreme Court ruled that they had suffered discrimination.

It is expected to cost the authority about one and half million pounds to settle claims by 250 staff, including classroom assistants and nursery nurses.

The judgment paves the way for thousands more claims by female council staff in Scotland.

Matthew Taylor reports:

Dumfries and Galloway Council response to court ruling

Below is a statement from Dumfries and Galloway Council in response to the Supreme Court case ruling:

"This is a complex case, which has been considered by Employment Tribunal, Employment Appeal Tribunal, Court of Session, and now the Supreme Court.

"The Employment Appeal Tribunal and Court of Session both ruled in our Council’s favour. The Supreme Court judgment is the most recent stage of the legal process.

"The appellants, including classroom assistants and nursery nurses, now have won the right to have their jobs compared to those of male manual workers, such as road workers and groundsmen.

"This judgment has implications for many local authorities and other public bodies. Our Council will now consider its position in response to the Supreme Court judgment."

– Dumfries and Galloway Council Spokesperson

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D&G claimants to share £1.5 million in compensation

UNISON Scotland says that the 251 Dumfries and Galloway claimants can expect to share around £1.5 million in compensation.

The overall compensation figure for 2,000 female members of UNISON Scotland is almost £12 million, after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the claimants.

This is a landmark case in equal pay across the UK. UNISON’s determination to fight for our members has successfully defended the intentions of the Equal Pay Act.

"Losing this would have been a serious setback for the Act itself.

“It is a disgrace that it is taking so long for women to get equal pay with men and that councils have fought to defend discriminatory practice in this way.

“More than 40 years after the Equal Pay Act, and after 30 years of equal value claims and 20 years after Scottish local authorities and trade unions reached agreement on implementing equal pay, there is finally no hiding place.

“The unions, the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government have been telling council leaders to get this sorted out.

“We are proud that it was UNISON alone who got the final answer from the Supreme Court. It is time for councils to stump up and give our members what is due to them.”

– Mike Kirby, Scottish Secretary, UNISON

UNISON secretary "delighted" with Supreme Court ruling

“I am delighted that the Supreme Court has ruled in favour of our women members. It is a shame, though, that they have had to go through this process and endure a seven-year wait, just to get equal pay.

“Dumfries and Galloway Council should take immediate steps to correct their pay and I urge other councils to follow suit. We have nearly 2,000 cases on hold, waiting for this judgment.

“Employers should be in no doubt that this union will continue to pursue cases until all women are treated equally.

"There are far too many who are still discriminated against and far too many employers who are using every single legal argument and loophole to dodge their obligations under equal pay law.”

– Dave Prentis, General Secretary, UNISON

Dumfries public sector workers win historic equal pay claim

Dumfries and Galloway Council headquarters Credit: ITV News Border

250 female public sector workers have won a Supreme Court case against Dumfries and Galloway Council in a fight over equal pay.

Elaine North at the Glasgow unison offices Credit: ITV News Border

Elaine North, who has fronted the campaign for equal pay, said:

"What we got today was a big step forward and I don't think we will ever stop fighting to get what we are entitled to.

"I love my job and I'm a mum and a grandmother and we are fighting for what we have now and the generation that come after us. This is about all women.

"We started this case seven years ago, they kept knocking us back but Unison fought the fight for us and with us and I'm really grateful to everyone involved."

Dumfries and Galloway Council equal pay row

More than 250 woman from Dumfries and Galloway are awaiting a Supreme Court decision over an equal pay row with Dumfries and Galloway Council.

UNISON is pursuing an equal pay claim for a the group of classroom assistants, support for learning assistants and nursery nurses.

The claimants say that their work is of equal value to male manual workers, including grounds men, road workers, refuse drivers, refuse collectors and leisure attendants.

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