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Birmingham faces 'another equal pay crisis'

11 Nov 2021
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GMB has today urged its 7,000 members at Birmingham City Council not to sign any equal pay settlement offers from their employer, after significant new information emerged surrounding problems with the council’s job evaluation scheme.   

It comes after the council admitted, following a recent Employment Tribunal for claims made by private no-win, no-fee lawyers (NWNF) on behalf of council staff, that key roles had been evaluated wrongly and their interpretation of the National Joint Council scheme could not be relied upon.   

Unions had previously negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in good faith with the council for payments to go to staff to ensure parity with colleagues who had received settlement through NWNF lawyers.     

However, the council’s evidence now blows open the validity of the MOU and the true value of settlements about to be offered to thousands of council workers.    

GMB is now undertaking an immediate review of all possible equal pay cases at Birmingham City Council with all options, including legal proceedings and industrial action, being considered in response.  

A reported £1.25 billion in equal pay settlements have been paid out by Birmingham City Council over the last decade. 

Michelle McCrossen, GMB Organiser, said:  

“The first step in solving any problem is recognising there is one, and it looks increasingly clear that Birmingham City Council is facing another equal pay crisis.    

“The council’s admission that their job evaluation system can’t be relied upon renders useless the previous Memorandum of Understanding between the council and unions, and its flawed grading of equivalent roles also suggests the council has been acting in bad faith throughout this process.   

“It’s unacceptable and that’s why we are now urging our members: Do not sign any settlement offer the council may make to you over the coming days. There is a real danger that if members sign these offers, they will be waiving their rights to a full and proper settlement.    

“GMB will now start lodging new equal pay claims on behalf of members who we believe are being discriminated against by the council, and we will be aggressive in our pursuit of pay justice.”   

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