NatWest pays female worker £150,000 to settle equal pay claim

Image: Matt Crossick/PA Archive/PA Images

A former NatWest employee has won a £150,000 pay-out after it emerged she was earning thousands of pounds less than a male colleague.

Miss Williams, a support analyst in NatWest Markets’ technology division, received pay and benefits worth £31,610 less per year than a man doing the same job when she left the company in 2017.

According to union Unite, which provided legal support for her claim, Williams started in 2010 on a salary of £45,000, while her male comparator started around the same time on a salary of £65,000.

Both received bonus packages, but Williams’ arrangement was 15% of her base salary, while the man received 25% of his base salary.

Williams said the company consistently failed to address the pay disparity when she raised it, which allowed the pay gap to increase further over the seven-year period she was employed.

The man received a £3,000 pay rise in 2016 and a further pay increase of £2,000 in 2017, while Williams received only £300 on each occasion. She was made redundant in November 2017.

Unite said Williams was offered £150,000 in October 2018 to settle her equal pay case if she signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), something she refused to do. The union claimed that NatWest parent company the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Group dropped the NDA condition in March, three days before an employment tribunal was scheduled to take place. RBS Group has denied to trying to ‘gag’ Williams.

The union claimed the case could open the door to a raft of equal pay claims from other RBS Group employees.

It said only 20% of women employed at RBS Group received a bonus in 2015, compared with 39% of men, while 16% of women and 46% of men were paid a bonus in 2016.

According to its 2018 gender pay gap report, 50% of women at RBS Group received a bonus, compared with 61.5% of men.

Unite national officer Rob MacGregor said: “This really is a shocking case of unequal pay and undermines the credibility of the employer’s supposed ‘fair’ pay philosophy. It also points to something very wrong within the bank and there is an urgent need for RBS to get its house in order.”

An RBS spokesperson said: “We take a fair and inclusive approach to setting pay and career progression and do not pay our colleagues differently for doing the same job because of their gender.

“In this particular case, although we don’t agree with everything Ms Williams says and we don’t agree that any difference in pay was due to Ms Williams’ gender, we don’t think we got things right in certain areas and therefore have agreed a settlement to resolve the matter. We strongly deny that any attempt was made by the bank to ‘gag’ Ms Williams at any time.”

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