Neath Port Talbot claims to be first Welsh council to settle equal pay bill

Neath Port Talbot Council claims to be the first local authority in Wales to settle its equal pay bill after shelling out £6.5m to almost 2,400 workers.

The South Wales council said 99.6% of claimants accepted the offer it made.

Female catering, cleaning and care staff were the main beneficiaries. Most of the money is said to have come from a 10-year loan from the Welsh Assembly.

Graham Jones, head of strategic personnel at the council, said: “The feedback we have had from our workforce has been excellent.”

Council leader Derek Vaughan attributed the prompt settlement to good working relationships with trade unions.

The council is now working with unions on a pay and grading structure for up to 7,000 employees that should come into force later this year. It said a small number of equal pay claims might arise from this exercise.

n The government has said it will give equal pay claims priority when assessing councils’ requests to capitalise their assets.

The Department for Communities & Local Government has moved the deadline for applications from December to May to better fit with councils’ budgeting processes. Local authorities will then learn how much they can capitalise in September. However, there is still no indication whether the £200m capitalisation limit will be lifted.

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