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Court rules in favour of female workers

18 Jul 2008

Court rules in favour of female workers Students who work part-time for the public sector could be interested to hear the Court of Appeal has ruled that the GMB union has discriminated against its female members in equal pay negotiations with a council.

The decision could result in public sector unions having to pay out millions in compensation to members after the court ruled the union indirectly discriminated against its female staff at Middlesbrough borough council, reports Personnel Today.

According to the court, GMB was guilty of prioritised pay protection for men over obtaining favourable back pay for women.

The union's national secretary, Brian Strutton, said the main worry is this decision could stop progress on equal pay.

"At it's earlier stages this case had been used as an excuse for some employers to 'freeze' negotiations on equal pay through fear of ending up in court just as we have done. There is a real danger of that freeze happening again," he added.

Equality minister Harriet Harman has set out plans allowing employers to discriminate in favour of female and ethnic minority job candidates.

The BBC reports that official figures show that for every pound a man earns, a woman earns 87 pence.

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