Nearly 1,800 women pursuing equal-pay claims against Cumbria County Council have accepted offers to settle, worth an average of £12,079.
The council wrote to 2,147 cooks, cleaners, care workers and lollipop ladies in September in an attempt to end the long-running dispute. The deadline for acceptances passed last week.
The council says 816 Unison members and 939 from the GMB took up its offer and have received compensation totalling £21.2m, reports the Cumbria News and Star.
Councillor Liz Mallinson, Cabinet member for organisational development, said: “For most of our claimants, this draws a line under a long-running period of uncertainty. I’m delighted so many people have decided our offers were good and fair ones.”
The women argued they were employed on less-favourable terms than men doing equivalent work, with some claims for compensation going back to 1997. A tribunal in 2006 backed their case in principle.
Women who refused the offer will have to wait for their cases to go to an employment tribunal next year.