Women’s pay victory is a ‘wake-up call’ for bosses

A landmark £12m equal pay settlement won by a group of female speech and language therapists has been described as a “wake-up call” for employers.

The women, backed by the MSF union, argued that their salary range breached equal pay legislation because they were not as well paid as men in a separate occupation.

Speech therapy, which is female-dominated, was compared in the NHS to clinical psychology, which is both male- dominated and better paid.

The 15-year case was finally resolved after the Government reached an out-of-court settlement with the MSF.

Margaret Wall, MSF national secretary, said, ” I think any sensible employer would immediately look at their job evaluation system.

“The case is absolutely crucial for other organisations, not just the NHS, and we will now be looking at the insurance sector.

“Other unions have been talking to us and I think the case will give impetus for more cases because the elements of the jobs examined in this case were far wider than in previous cases.”

Martin Chitty, partner at employment law firm Wragge & Co, said the case has implications for all employers.

“This case has opened up the fact that historic factors are not justification for differences in pay regulations, particularly when they are male-dominated,” he said.

The bill will be met by the health trusts which employed the women.


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