Sunderland City Council are ignoring equal pay says GMB Union

Sunderland care and support workers begin historic legal action to recover the money they are owed today (Wednesday, 24 January).

The mainly women workers will protest full council tonight (Wednesday) as they launch historic legal action to recover the wages and pension contributions owed.

Workers impacted by pay discrimination will be asking seven questions to councillors.

The mainly women staff employed at Sunderland Care and Support (SCAS) have been denied access to a more generous Local Authority Pension Scheme, that predominantly male council workers use.

And they are paid less per hour than male dominated jobs.

Following Sunderland Council's refusal to negotiate with GMB to deliver a fair wage for these women workers, the union is now moving to legal action against the council.

Kim Inglis, care worker and GMB representative, said:

“Today we will bring real women's stories to full council.

"Stories like Gemma's who said: ‘Equal pay would mean I’m not living hand to mouth every month. I’d be able to spoil my little boy now and then and not have to worry if I could afford it’.

"Louise who said: ‘It would mean I wouldn’t have to work as much additional overtime and would have a better work life balance.’

"and Gillian who said: ‘I’m a single parent and homeowner. My basic wage just covers my bills, so I have to work a lot of overtime just to make ends meet. I also have elderly parents to look after, and I’m left exhausted. Working fewer hours would give me a better work life balance’.

“These stories tell the real story on unfair pay, and we won't tolerate it. So today we are launching our formal legal equal pay cases against Sunderland City Council.

“We urge all SCAS workers to contact the GMB to lodge their legal claim as soon as possible.”   


Media enquiries: Kat Fletcher 07966 453808 / [email protected]

Notes to Editors:

[1]  GMB reps and members will be protesting outside Sunderland Town Hall from 3.15pm.

Union members have submitted seven questions to full council, which begins at 4pm. Representatives will be available for comment.

Questions to full council:

  • As an employee of SCAS I regularly work 50-hour weeks to achieve a living wage for the work I do, do all Councillors appreciate I have less time with my children and parents as a consequence, because I'm not paid appropriately, and what do you suggest I do to get a fair wage?
  • As a result of being paid less than my male counterpart in Sunderland Council, for the equal work we do, I've not been able to take my 6 year old on holiday for 3 years. How do you suggest I explain that to my Billy, and why should I wait another year to get an answer from the Council?
  • Why are Sunderland City Council still allowing female SCAS employees to be excluded from the Local Government Pension scheme?
  • What is Sunderland Councils position regarding a group of predominantly female workers still being paid less than their male comparators every day?
  • Is the Council's position that SCAS are still a separate organisation, or do you now concede that they are part of and managed by Sunderland City Council?
  • Why has the Council not attempted to sit down with the GMB since our initial meeting In October, and after over 300 grievances have been lodged, and resolve the Equal Pay issue?
  • Why, when the GMB have lodged over 300 SCAS Equal Pay grievances, and have had the hearings in November, have we not had an outcome yet, or no formal communication about a delay?




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