Women win equal pay claim against NHS Trust
A group of female nursing assistants who were paid less than male maintenance workers have won an equal pay claim against an NHS Trust.
The pay of the two groups was based on wage structures established in 1987. More than 9 out of 10 maintenance workers were men and 8 out of 10 nursing assistants were women.
The two groups were in comparable pay bands yet the nursing assistants received only 91% of the salary paid to the maintenance staff.
When the women complained, the Trust said that the maintenance workers’ pay was set in line with private sector pay rates. This was necessary to help recruit and retain suitably qualified staff.
The women refused to accept this and began legal proceedings.
The employment tribunal ruled in their favour. It said that the law sometimes allowed employers to pay some members of a team more than female employees if that was necessary to attract suitable staff. However, that did not apply in this case.
There was no evidence to show that the trust needed to pay a higher rate to recruit and retain maintenance workers. There was therefore no justification for paying the men a higher rate.