25 September 2023

Council faces equal pay claims after union brands practices ‘truly scandalous’

25 September 2023

A council is facing equal pay claims from thousands of women, according to a union which alleges some workers are paid up to £11,000 less than those in comparable roles.

Sheffield City Council is the latest local authority to be facing such an equal pay action after the GMB launched a claim on Monday.

The union compared the pay of a senior teaching assistant, which is a grade 5 role, with a night-time noise officer, which is a grade 7 role, saying the difference translates as an £11,383 differential.

It also compared care managers on Grade 5 with cemetery supervisors on Grade 7, a difference it said amounted to £7,301 annually.

The GMB said the claims centre around the council’s job evaluation scheme which it said routinely discriminates against women-dominated roles, under-paying those in female dominated roles.

Sue Wood, GMB senior organiser said: “What we have uncovered in Sheffield is truly scandalous.

“The council are using a rotten job allocation scheme that actively discriminates against its female workforce and opens up thousands of potential equal pay claims.

“We are determined that this injustice must end and call upon the Town Hall to step up, commit to ending this blatant discrimination and scrap this unfair scheme.”

Deputy council leader Fran Belbin said: “Sheffield City Council has positive and long-standing relationships with the trade unions, including GMB, and we work with them using an evaluation scheme to ensure that council jobs are reviewed and graded fairly.

“We have had this scheme in place since 2010 and it includes an appeals process.”

Ms Belbin continued: “Any member of staff can request a review if they believe their grade is not correct.

“We encourage members of staff to raise any concerns about equal pay with us, so we can review and address if necessary.

“When a grade is confirmed as needing to change, changes are made. We meet regularly with staff and their representatives and are always happy to discuss any concerns.”

Earlier this month, Birmingham City Council effectively declared itself bankrupt by issuing a section 114 notice citing a series of problems, including huge levels of equal pay claims.

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