There have been a number of equal pay cases over the past few years involving the unions fighting for equal pay, normally around bonuses or pensions, for women undertaking jobs such as care/classroom assistants, dinner ladies and the like. These roles were governed by one set of employment rules and more manual roles, such as dustmen for example, who were governed by another set of rules. However, the latter were able to get bonuses, overtime, pay rises etc and the former were not or recoved lower benefits.
The cases that have come out of the woodwork suggest that the same conditions should have applied and the litigants keep on winning.
Now, we can get into arguments on whether in reality they should be viewed as the same type of job but that can take us down a cul-de-sac. The real issue for me is whether men are being included in the litigation and also whether by default men who were also carrying out the same jobs as the women were also winning backpay etc. Not all care assistants, classroom assistants, dinner 'ladies' etc are women.
The "Equalities" and Human Rights Commission in Scotland won a case against Dumfries and Galloway council recently but they only mention women: "The Supreme Court has today ruled in favour of 251 female employees in their equal pay case against their employer, Dumfries and Galloway Council."
The court papers also state that they classroom assistants et al did not want to be compared to janitors who did not get bonuses etc - is this because they were men! Why were the janitors not included in the case? Plus would Alastair Pringle of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission support a case if the roles were reversed - I think we know the answer to that!
The site has covered other cases before:
Were men included in the Birmingham victory? Have any men claimed, does it apply to them, can they piggyback?
And we know that men in Tyneside, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough had to fight for their rights when they were excluded (full judgement here). It looks like the councils did shamefully appeal but I cannot find the outcome. It would be very interesting to see whether they did successfully appeal and also even if they then lost or withdrew - how much did that cost local male council taxpayers.
Overall though, why are men not automatically included in these appeals?
If it was about equality for all, then men would be but when has equality been an issue of interest to Unison or the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.
Posted by Skimmington
Here is the solicitor responsible and helpfully at the botom you can click through to the court papers.