Prison Service agrees to pay out £50m for equal pay claim

The Prison Service has agreed to settle more than 3,300 equal pay cases brought by the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) at an approximate cost of £50m in back pay, the union has announced.

The settlement follows an employment tribunal and other court hearings dating from 1999 when the union claimed for equal pay for women working in support administrative and managerial roles with male prison officers and governors.

Individual payouts will range from £500 to £50,000 depending on the grade and the length of time an application had been lodged.

The settlement will lead to the revision of existing pay scales, which will see some starting salaries rise by £3,000. Pay gaps of up to £4,000 currently exist between the admin and management grades when compared to equivalent prison officer and governor grades respectively. These will be closed as part of the settlement.

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary said the settlement was a significant step in addressing the pay inequalities that riddle the civil service.

“Finally, after over seven years of legal process, the perseverance of PCS members means that the Prison Service is taking steps to address the glaring pay inequalities that exist.

“With the gender pay gap standing at a shocking 25% in the Civil Service and pay gaps of thousands of pounds, the government needs to take a lead from the Prison Service settlement and take positive action on pay inequality.”

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