Employers should not side with the enemy over pay

While I was not surprised to read about trade unions criticising Stefan Cross, the solicitor who has represented hundreds of women in sex discrimination and equal pay claims, I cannot understand why employers’ organisations have joined in the attack (Personnel Today, 5 December).

If we just take the Allan v GMB case, Cross established that GMB members, according to the unanimous decision of the tribunal, had a claim of unlawful sex discrimination which was ‘well founded’. In a considered judgment running to 139 pages, the tribunal lambasted the union, finding it had manipulated and misled its members and neglected their interests. If these are the considered conclusions of a court of law, how can it be right for employers to ally themselves with the union’s position?

The sad facts are that the Equal Pay Act is more than 36 years old, we still do not have equal pay between the sexes, and the combined forces of reluctant employers, ineffective trade unions and disinterested governments are responsible for this.

Far from being the pantomime villain, Cross may well have achieved more to advance the cause of equal pay in the UK than any other individual or organisation since 1970. And if he has profited from his efforts, my view is he deserves it.

Willy White, HR professional

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