1. ITV Report

'Landmark' equal pay decision for hundreds of Birmingham women

The Supreme Court judgement could be the most radical reform since equal pay legislation was introduced in 1970. Photo: PA

A 'landmark' ruling by leading judges today on equal pay compensation claims by women who worked for Birmingham City Council could have 'huge implications', according to lawyers.

They say the Supreme Court judgement could be the most radical reform since equal pay legislation was introduced in 1970.

In November, the Court of Appeal said more than 170 cooks, cleaners, catering and care staff who worked for the council could launch pay equality claims in the High Court.

The city council challenged that decision in the Supreme Court - the highest court in the UK - and will today learn whether its appeal has succeeded.

Background to the case:

  • Judges were told the women were denied bonuses similar to those in male-dominated roles such as refuse collectors and street cleaners
  • In 2007/8 tens of thousands of pounds were paid to female council employees in compensation
  • But only workers employed or who had left in the last six months were eligible to make claims
  • To get round the deadline 174 women started actions for damages in the High Court, which has a six-year deadline for launching claims.
  • The council argue under equal pay legislation such claims could only be entertained by an employment tribunal.