Aberdeenshire UNISON


Equal Pay Claims

Time to get equal

UNISON believes there are employees of Aberdeenshire Council that may be entitled to compensation in respect of equal pay.

During 2006 Aberdeenshire Council made compensation offers to many mainly low paid female employees. This was because it was believed they had not been paid equally to male workers in the Council who did jobs of equal value. Many people who received the compensation then signed for the money and at the same time, signed away their rights to make any further equal pay claim up to 31 December 2006.

UNISON believes there could be other groups of workers in many other jobs that could claim compensation in respect of equal pay. These claims would be based on the new grades given to their job as a result of single status.

Many people have found their jobs have been upgraded as a result of the single status process which may give an indication that in the past their job was undervalued. UNISON does not have the information to identify each and every potential claim. However, each employee will be entitled to request information from the Council about their job - this information could help you decide if you have an equal pay claim.

What is equal pay?

Equal pay is an issue when groups of male workers and groups of female workers may do different jobs but those jobs have been evaluated the same - but the male and female workers have been paid differently.

Here's an example (a bit ridiculous but it will give you an idea)

Bobby McDonald's Circus employs 10 strongmen and 12 bearded ladies - both acts are big hits with the audience. The strongmen were paid 20,000 a year and the bearded ladies were paid 15,000 a year.

The Circus has just done a job evaluation exercise on all the acts and in the evaluation the strongmen's jobs scored 300 points and the bearded ladies' jobs scored 302 points.

What does this mean? It means that in the new pay system their jobs are valued the same and the strongmen and bearded ladies should be paid the same. The Circus has decided that the strongmen will stay on 20,000 and the bearded ladies will also now be paid 20,000.

The law says if you can show unequal pay between groups of male and female employees doing work of equal value then there is an equal pay claim and the difference in pay over the previous 5 years can be claimed.

So - the bearded ladies can claim 5,000 for each year before the new evaluation for up to 5 years which would give them a potential pay out of 25,000!

Now, we know there's no strongmen or bearded ladies working for Aberdeenshire (at least we don't think so) - and this is a very simple example. In reality equal pay is a complex issue and if you wish to find out more or think you may have a claim then get in touch with the branch.

Remember, not all claims will be successful but UNISON will guide you through the process and give you advice on your particular situation.

For more information, email the branch office at aberdeenshire@unison.co.uk or telephone 01224 620624.

Inez Teece, Assistant Secretary

Click here for further information on equal pay