Branch Secretary :

Unite wins big equal pay payout

£150,000 equal pay victory lifts lid on pay inequality at Royal Bank of Scotland


In housing associations Unite has opposed the move toward spot salaries and away from ‘the rate for the job’ and proper, transparent, job evaluation systems.  Housing association management have often taken the finance sector as a model so todays pay-out should be taken as a warning for the sector. While there is much talk of improving equalities the move away from transparent negotiated pay structures powerfully undermines equality.


Unite, and forerunner unions, has a proud tradition of fighting for equal pay including the famous strike at Ford Dagenham that lead to the current equal pay legislation strike at  reps can access training and up to date legal information on fighting for equal pay.


A raft of equal pay claims


State backed Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) could be facing a raft of equal pay claims Unite warned after helping secure a £150,000 pay out in an equal pay case involving a female support analyst in NatWest Markets’ technology division.


The case supported by Unite legal services was brought by former RBS employee Miss Williams who after a seven year period at the bank was receiving pay and benefits worth £31,610 less per year for doing the same job as her male counterpart.


Employed between 1 September 2010 and 15 November 2017, Miss Williams started on a salary of £45,000 while her male counterpart started around the same time on a salary of £65,000. Both received benefits packages with Miss Williams receiving 15% of her base salary and her male colleague 25% of base salary.



Miss Williams raised the pay disparity with management who consistently failed to address the issue, allowing the pay disparity with her male colleague to increase further with him receiving a £3,000 pay rise in 2016 and a further pay rise of £2,000 and bonus of £2,000 in 2017. For both 2016 and 2017 Miss Williams received a pay rise of just £300.


After raising a grievance in June 2017 Miss Williams was made redundant by the bank in November 2017. Miss Williams was offered £150,000 to settle the case in October 2018 if she agreed to a gagging clause, which she refused to do.


The case was finally settled three days ahead of an employment tribunal which was due to sit on from 25 March after RBS dropped the confidentiality clause.


Refusal to be gagged


Commenting Unite assistant general secretary for legal services Howard Beckett said: “It is simply staggering that nearly 50 years on from the Equal Pay Act that a taxpayer funded bank has been found to be discriminating against a female employee to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds.


“The determination of Miss Williams to pursue this case with the support of Unite and her refusal to be gagged by RBS has lifted the lid on pay disparity at the bank and could lead to further equal pay claims.


“We now know that the number of women who received a bonus in 2015 was 20 per cent compared to 39 per cent of men and that a year later the gap widened further still. Just 13% of women got a bonus in 2016 compared to 46% of men.


“Unite will be reviewing the implications of this case and won’t hesitate to support further equal pay claims.”


Transparent job evaluation process


Unite national officer Rob MacGregor said: “This really is a shocking case of unequal pay and undermines the credibility of the employer's supposed 'fair' pay philosophy. It also points to something very wrong within the bank and there is an urgent need for RBS to get its house in order.


“We are calling on RBS to engage with Unite to ensure that the employer has an independent, fair and transparent evaluation process for all job roles across the workforce.”


Alex Flynn 9 May 2019




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