Monday 24 May 2010

Equal Pay

[Thanks to Lionel Stride of Temple Garden Chambers for providing this case summary]

The EAT (Lady Smith) has handed down its decision in City of Edinburgh v Wilkinson & ors, which is authority for the proposition that white collar Claimants (APT & C employees) can bring equal pay claims using bonus-earning manual workers as comparators.

The Council argued that male manual workers were not valid comparators because they were not employed 'at the same establishment'; for example the bin men did not work in schools or on 'common terms and conditions' under s.1(6) of the Equal Pay Act 1970. The ET found in favour of the Claimants on the second point and the Council appealed. There was also a cross-appeal in relation to whether the comparators worked at the same establishment.

On appeal, Lady Smith held that:-

  • A council is a single establishment for pay purposes.
  • Even if they were not employed at the same establishment, there were common terms and conditions as between the Claimants and the manual workers.
  • A broad approach is required when determining the issue of 'same employment' and the definition of 'establishment' and should not be limited to considering whether the work is undertaken at a single geographical location.
  • Her own analysis in the Dumfries and Galloway cases was wrong. There is therefore no need to establish, as a fact, that there was a real possibility of the blue-collar comparators being employed at the same establishments as the Claimants.
  • The Council should be considered the 'single source' of any unequal pay because they were responsible for setting the pay terms of both the Claimants and the comparators.

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