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Despite Birmingham equal pay case, councils never intend to pay staff unfairly according to PPMA

The Public Sector People Managers Association (PPMA) has said it is "never any council's intention" to pay staff unfairly, despite female workers at Birmingham City Council winning millions of pounds in payouts from their employer in equal pay compensation.

According to The Guardian, the tribunal case earlier this week in favour of female workers at Birmingham city council is  one of the biggest discrimination cases ever.

The tribunal  concluded more than 4,500 female employees, who were employed by the council  as cleaners, care assistants, teaching assistants, should have been paid the same rates as male employees, like grave diggers and street cleaners, who were in comparible roles.

The women involved in this case are now entitled to claim for compensatory awards; pay-outs that some have estimated could cost the council up to £200m.

Mike Cooke (pictured), director of organisation at the London Borough of Camden and lead officer on Pay and Reward and the PPMA, said: "There have been a few, big equal pay decisions by Tribunals over the last few years. The PPMA doesn't have any of the details of the Birmingham City Council case so can't comment on the specifics of the case.
"What we can say is that it is never any Council's intention to pay staff unfairly. Councils work to pay staff according to the value of the jobs - equal pay for equal value. Historically many Councils believed that some jobs could and should be incentivised by productivity bonuses (e.g for refuse collectors).

"Sometimes, over the years practices changed and moved away from pay for productivity - and bonuses became part of the standard package rather than justifiable payments. Things have moved on and many councils have now reviewed their pay systems, scrapped productivity bonuses and ensured that everyone is paid equally for jobs that are of the same value."