Equal Pay Ruling Could Benefit Thousands
The Supreme Court is due to make a decision on equal pay claims within the hour that could pave the way for thousands more women across the country to get compensation.
Birmingham City Council has appealed against a ruling by the Court of Appeal to allow claims to go through civil courts instead of only through employment tribunals.
At the moment people are only allowed to make claims through tribunals within six months of employment. Through civil courts people would be able to claim within six years.
It would mean more women like Vera Box, a former care assistant for Birmingham City Council, could make a claim for equal pay despite having sought legal advice more than six months after retirement.
"If that case is won it would be a gateway for many more people to put in a claim. And I really hope that we do win this claim," she said.
Vera retired in 2005 after 11 years. She says when she found out she may have been paid thousands of pounds less than a man on the same pay grade she was angry. She is one woman out of many who say they were excluded from bonuses.
"I still feel quite bitter about it really because when you're on the same pay grade as someone and they are getting paid a lot more it just doesn't seem fair," she said.
"It was a lot of money. It could have made a hell of a difference to our lives in retirement."
Several thousand Birmingham City Council staff won their case for equal pay at a tribunal in 2010.
The council said the ruling related to its old bonus structure which had been removed.
Chris Benson, a partner at Leigh Day & Co, who is representing hundreds of ex-workers in Birmingham as well as thousands of others in many other local authorities including Wolverhampton, Blackpool and the London Borough of Croydon, said: "We look forward to the verdict and hope that, if we are successful, Birmingham City Council will settle these equal pay claims."