Oct 24 2012 By Cheryl Mullin
SCORES of women who worked for a local authority have won an equal pay compensation fight at the UK’s highest court.
Supreme Court justices said more than 170 former Birmingham City Council employees could launch pay equality compensation claims in the High Court.
Lawyers describe the judgment, given in London, as a “landmark” and say it could have “huge implications”.
Today's Supreme Court decision follows a Court of Appeal ruling in the women's favour.
Last November, the Court of Appeal said scores of cooks, cleaners, catering and care staff previously employed by Birmingham City Council were entitled to launch pay equality compensation claims in the High Court.
The city council challenged that decision in the Supreme Court – but today a panel of five justices dismissed the appeal by a majority.
Judges heard that 170 women were among female workers denied bonuses similar to those handed out to employees in traditionally male-dominated jobs such as refuse collectors, street cleaners, road workers and grave-diggers.
The court was told that, in 2007 and 2008, tens of thousands of pounds were paid to female council employees to compensate them.
More payments have also been made to women who took cases to an employment tribunal.
But only workers still employed or who had recently left were eligible to make claims in a tribunal.
Those who had left earlier were caught by a six-month deadline for launching claims.