Legal proceedings begin against care home operator over equal pay for women

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social care costs-care industry newsPaying women less than men in comparable roles is discrimination and against the law says GMB.

GMB has instructed Leigh Day to issue legal proceedings at the High Court this week, Monday 21 March 2016, to win equal pay for 87 members employed by Avery Homes (Nelson) Ltd in female dominated, predominately caring roles.

GMB consider that these members are employed to carry out equal work to that carried out by men employed by Avery whose terms and conditions are more favourable than those of these members.

Avery Homes run 45 care homes in Staffordshire (7), Northamptonshire (6), Birmingham (4), Kent (2), Nottingham (2), Surrey (2), West Yorkshire (2), Worcestershire (2) and one care home in each area of Cheshire, Coventry, Derby, Hampshire, Harrow, Hertfordshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Manchester, Milton Keynes, North Yorkshire, Somerset, Stoke-on-Trent, Stratford-upon-Avon, Tyne & Wear, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Wolverhampton.

Chris Benson, a partner at the law firm Leigh Day acting for the GMB legal team, said “Female members of GMB working as carers for local authorities have secured equal pay with the support of their union. Many also received back pay as well as better terms and conditions going forward.

Despite our extensive experience in the field of equal pay we were shocked to see the inequality between female carers and male staff undertaking work of equal value within care homes run by Avery.

Those care staff compared themselves against jobs done by men such as caretakers and other male dominated roles.

Carers working for Avery believe they are also underpaid and with the assistance of GMB have issued claims to ensure they too receive equal pay. The claims, which go back up to 6 years, could see members recover thousands of pounds in back pay they have been denied.

GMB will also be working to negotiate better terms and conditions and hope Avery sit down and negotiate a proper wage for the female carers equal to that received by male caretakers who work in the same care homes.

The carers provide an invaluable service looking after vulnerable individuals who most need our support and assistance. It is only right those carrying out such work are properly rewarded and not underpaid because of their gender.”

Justin Bowden, GMB national officer for the care sector, said “Paying somebody less for the job they do because they are a woman was outlawed in Britain in 1970, yet incredibly – some 45 years after the Equal Pay Act was passed – Avery Healthcare are paying female carers and other vital frontline staff they employ hundreds of pounds a year less than males in equal occupations.

He added “Avery Healthcare has 45 care homes and employs over 2,000 women as carers and in other vital frontline roles, yet chooses to pay them less than men it employs in comparable roles. That is discrimination and it is against the law.

Every one of the 2,000 women Avery Healthcare employs may have a claim for hundreds or thousands of pounds of compensation going back up to 6 years. GMB is appealing to all current and former employees of Avery to come forward so we can assess if they may be entitled to compensation.”

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