Sheffield Council equal pay settlement delay

Peter Davies, of the GMB, says there has been disagreement over offers.
Peter Davies, of the GMB, says there has been disagreement over offers.

More than 150 female council staff are still waiting for compensation – two years after Sheffield Council made an equal pay settlement.

The council struck a deal with trade unions in 2011 – just before the case was due to be taken to the Supreme Court – after officials feared they may have to pay £20 million in compensation if they lost the case.

About 900 women, including dinner ladies and care workers, claimed they were paid less than men for equivalent roles.

But the council has not yet paid out in 162 cases where it has not yet received ‘acceptance’ from trade union solicitors Thompson.

One woman care worker said: “I’m still waiting and can never get to the bottom of where the money actually is.

“Thompsons and the council have not returned calls and won’t tell me anything.

“I’m looking at £2,500 to £3,000 of compensation and I know of a large number of other women who are affected. ”

The 2011 settlement was itself heavily delayed, taking three years to negotiate.

Individual settlements are believed to range from a couple of hundred pounds to tens of thousands of pounds.

John Cafferty, regional secretary for Unison, one of two trade unions involved along with the GMB, said: “There are 107 cases where an offer has not yet been made by the council.

“Meanwhile, in 48 cases the offer from the council has not been accepted and in six more cases offers are being examined by Thompsons to see if they are acceptable.

“All those made offers which have been accepted should have now been paid.”

Mr Cafferty said there are more equal pay claims that have been made after the settlement with the council, which will be dealt with once the 900 original women’s cases are completed.

Peter Davies, organiser for the GMB, said: “In general terms, employees who have yet to receive settlements are having them recalculated by the council, not the unions. This is where we have disagreed with the calculations based on years’ service and job titles.”

Coun Bryan Lodge, council cabinet member for finance and resources, said: “There are a number of offers we have made to claimants concerning the equal pay matters we haven’t received acceptance for yet.

“We have written to the unions to ask them to confirm the position.”