Unions are working with a Leicestershire MP to put a motion before Parliament asking for equal pay between male and female local council staff.
The initiative is led by Unison, the UK’s largest public sector union, which claims that female staff across local councils are being paid less than their male colleagues for equivalent work.
An Early Day Motion was tabled by David Taylor, Labour MP for Leicestershire North West. It stated: “That this House acknowledges that equal pay between women and men is a legal right under UK and EU law; is concerned that despite the best efforts of trade unions, women in local government continue to be unlawfully underpaid; notes that the lack of financial help offered to local authorities to assist with the funding of single status has led to a crisis in local government over equal pay.”
Taylor called on the government to provide funding for councils in September 2007’s Comprehensive Spending Review to enable councils to carry out pay and grading reviews and provide equal pay in local government.
Dave Prentis, Unison general secretary, said it was fundamentally unlawful that thousands of women had been paid at a lower rate than men.
He said: “It is the employers’ responsibility to immediately stop this injustice. But the government too needs to grasp the nettle and give local councils a sound financial settlement to urgently resolve this pay gap.”
Local government unions are due to lobby MPs and prime minister Gordon Brown’s new local government ministerial team at Westminster on 10 July.