Fears Sheffield could be next council to go ‘bust’ as it faces massive equal pay claim over ‘truly scandalous’ underpayment of female-dominated roles
A mass equal pay claim from thousands of women has accelerated fears Sheffield City Council could be the next local authority to declare bankruptcy.
The GMB union launched a claim against the council today as it alleged some female workers have been underpaid by up to £11,000 a year.
There have been ‘truly scandalous’ differentials in pay between women and men in comparable roles, the union claimed.
The equal pay claim will increase concerns about the financial health of Sheffield City Council, which is currently chasing £47.7million in savings in a bid to balance the books.
It has warned it will become ‘financially unsound’ from 2024-25 onwards if it fails to make such savings.
A similar equal pay claim was recently made against Birmingham City Council and is estimated to be worth as much as £760million.
It played a part in the local authority declaring itself essentially bankrupt – through a Section 114 notice – earlier this month.
A mass equal pay claim from thousands of women has accelerated fears the city council in Sheffield could be the next local authority to declare bankruptcy
Sheffield City Council, based at Sheffield town hall, is currently chasing £47.7million in savings in a bid to balance the books
Sheffield City Council is currently run by a ‘rainbow’ collaboration of Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Green Party, with no party holding overall control of the council.
GMB has claimed the council’s job evaulation system ‘actively discrimnates’ against female workers and sees female-dominated roles underpaid.
The union compared the pay of a senior teaching assistant, which is a grade 5 role, with a night-time noise officer, which is a grade 7 role, saying the difference translates as an £11,383 differential.
It also compared care managers on grade 5 with cemetery supervisors on frade 7, a difference it said amounted to £7,301 annually.
Sue Wood, GMB senior organiser said: ‘What we have uncovered in Sheffield is truly scandalous.
‘The council are using a rotten job allocation scheme that actively discriminates against its female workforce and opens up thousands of potential equal pay claims.
‘We are determined that this injustice must end and call upon the Town Hall to step up, commit to ending this blatant discrimination and scrap this unfair scheme.’
Fran Belbin, the council’s deputy leader, said: ‘Sheffield City Council has positive and long-standing relationships with the trade unions, including GMB, and we work with them using an evaluation scheme to ensure that council jobs are reviewed and graded fairly.
‘We have had this scheme in place since 2010 and it includes an appeals process.’
Ms Belbin continued: ‘Any member of staff can request a review if they believe their grade is not correct.
‘We encourage members of staff to raise any concerns about equal pay with us, so we can review and address if necessary.
‘When a grade is confirmed as needing to change, changes are made. We meet regularly with staff and their representatives and are always happy to discuss any concerns.’
Source: Read Full Article