The Prison Service could face a £50m bill after it lost its appeal against 2,504 equal pay cases at an Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT).
The EAT upheld an earlier Employment Tribunal ruling from July 2004 that supported the multiple claims for equal pay, mainly between women working in support, administrative and managerial roles in the prison service, and prison officers and governors.
The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), which organised the claims, said that pay gaps of up to £5,000 exist between admin and management grades and prison officer and governor grades that have been rated as being work of equal value.
Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said that the Prison Service had to accept there is pay inequality in the Home Office department.
Serwotka seemed to threaten that the union would organise similar cases against other departments.
“With evidence of the inequalities in civil service pay growing, the government needs to move quickly in reaching agreement with civil service unions over new national pay arrangements across the civil service,” he said.