Equal pay victory for female council workers could have a major impact on thousands of employees

Court ruling for Birmingham women could lead to thousands of claims up and down the country

A court victory for female workers at Birmingham city council, who were demanding equal pay, could lead to thousands of claims by women across the country, lawyers have claimed.

Around 170 female workers at the council, including women who worked as canteen staff and cleaners, who left their jobs between 2004-2008, are demanding compensation as they say men were paid more and received extra benefits despite doing the same work as them.

Their lawyers said the council had breached equal pay laws, and persuaded the court that women could bring their claims in the civil courts, where there is a six year claim limit.

Birmingham city council had tried to block the claims previously, saying they should have been done within six months in front of an employment tribunal.

This victory means the time workers have to bring equal compensation claims to court has increased to six years, making such claims ‘more lucrative and worthwhile pursuing’ according to lawyers.

The law firm representing the women said the decision had huge implications and could lead to thousands of claims.

A spokesperson from Leigh Day & Co says: ‘The judgment effectively extends the time limit for equal pay claims from six months to six years – the biggest change to equal pay legislation since it was introduced in 1970, with huge implications for thousands of workers.’

They added the firm had 1,000 more claims pending in Birmingham.

However, the Local Government Association said it was unlikely this would be the case, as councils had made ‘significant progress on local pay’ within the past few years.

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