Female staff at Haberdashers’ schools win equal pensions claim

Dozens of low-paid female workers at a top public school have gained equal pension rights following a decade-long legal battle.

More than £150,000 will be paid out to 27 part-time workers at the prestigious Haberdashers’ schools for boys and girls in Monmouth, Wales, after they were denied access to the school’s pension scheme.

Full-time male staff, working in similar roles, had been allowed to join on a voluntary basis, and in a pay claim taken to the Employment Tribunals in 1998, the women claimed that the school was discriminating against them because of their sex and was in breach of Equal Pay and Sex Discrimination Legislation.

Their union, Unison, successfully argued that pensions are deferred pay, with the final salary scheme being worth around £1,300 a year for eight years for each worker, plus a lump sum.

Between them, the workers carried out a variety of roles such as house parents, administrators, assistant matrons, cooks and cleaners.

Their claims covered the period when the pension scheme was changed, between 1976 and 1999.

Thousands of female public sector employees have a greater chance of succeeding in equal pay claims following two key legal rulings in April.

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