Thousands of underpaid workers stand to get £501m in backdated equal pay settlements, Communities Secretary John Denham announced yesterday.
Thirty-seven councils were given the go ahead to borrow against or sell assets up to £501m so they can meet and manage the one-off costs of settling their equal pay promises faster.
Since 2006, central government has given English councils permission to raise over £1.6bn for equal pay settlements under a process known as equal pay capitalisation.
John Denham said:
"Work of equal value deserves equal pay for every employee in any job, and that includes local government. Thousands of council workers - women in particular - have lost out because of historically unequal pay arrangements, some of which have persisted for years.
"Councils and unions are working hard to right this wrong and this Government wants to do everything it can to see the playing field levelled as fast as possible."
Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary, commented:
"This announcement is a big step forward, and will allow more councils across the country finally to close the gap between pay rates for men and women. We welcome the Government's continued commitment to allowing councils to raise cash to fund equal pay settlements in this way.
"Ending the injustice of unequal pay for women is one of the most important issues for UNISON. In the 21st century, it cannot be right that some women still get paid less than a male colleague in the same job."
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