Court of Appeal ruling paves way for new equal pay claims

The Court of Appeal has ruled that equal pay schemes that offer transitional protection to higher paid, often male, workers are unlawful.

Its verdict in the cases of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council v Bainbridge and others and Middlesbrough Borough Council v Surtees and others means that thousands of low-paid women working in the public sector for NHS Trusts and local authorities are entitled to pursue claims for extra money.

Pay protection schemes gained popularity with the public sector after a new regime for terms and conditions called the Green Book was introduced for local authorities in 1997 to remove bonus schemes that were paid predominantly to male workers. In some cases, pay protection was used to provide men with bonuses under a different guise, and was therefore discriminatory against women.†