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Birmingham City Council’s ex-female workers win equal pay verdict from SC

Written on:October 24, 2023
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The UK Supreme Court verdict in favour of equal pay is a momentous one, say lawyers

Birmingham City Council hasn’t been granted permission to appeal against a Court of Appeal’s decision, which permitted low-paid ex-female employees of the Council to seek compensation from the Council.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday repudiated the Birmingham City Council’s argument that the compensation claims should have been made earlier by the women.

The court’s decision, which allowed low-paid ex-female employees to seek compensation, was delivered in November 2011. A total of 174 former council workers, including cooks, cleaners, caterers and care workers, were the beneficiaries of this ruling. Thee females were fighting at the UK’s highest court to receive ‘equal pay.’

These workers now have six years at their disposal to present their compensation claims. The Supreme Court’s judgment on Wednesday means that the female workers can seek compensation via the civil courts system. The Supreme Court justices have remarked that these ex-female employees can initiate ‘equal pay compensation’ claims in the High Court.

The Birmingham City Council had asserted that the ex-female employees should have submitted their compensation claims via an employment court within a six-month time limit of quitting their jobs. The Birmingham City Council had contended that ‘equal pay’ claims could be assessed only by the employment court.

Lawyers have described the Supreme Court verdict, delivered in London, as a milestone, which could have far-reaching ramifications for thousands of workers. A panel of five Supreme Court justices rejected the appeal of the Birmingham City Council by a majority.

Law firm Leigh Day & Co has stated that the Supreme Court judgment effectively stretches the time limit for ‘equal pay’ claims from six months to six years. This represents the most noteworthy change to the ‘equal pay’ legislation, since it was introduced in 1970.

The aforesaid legal firm is bringing claims against the Birmingham City Council on behalf of 174 claimants, with an extra 1000 claims pending in Birmingham alone.

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