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Pay and Conditions


01 November 2012
Many of you will be aware that the Supreme Court issued a judgment on equal pay on Wednesday 24 October.

All members with queries about these equal pay claims should contact UNISONdirect on 0845 355 0845.

Birmingham City Council v Abdulla
The claims in the Abdulla case were started in the High Court because the claimants were out of time to bring proceedings in the employment tribunal. The time limit for bringing claims in the employment tribunal is six months from the end of the employment in which the comparison is being made.

The Abdulla claimants were far too late to bring ordinary tribunal claims. The time limit for bringing claims in the High Court is six years (five years in Scotland) so the Abdulla claimants lodged their claims there.

Birmingham City Council objected to this and asked the judge to strike out the claims arguing that the High Court was the wrong place for hearing equal pay claims and that the claimants were out of time.

The High Court and later the Court of Appeal rejected the Council's arguments but they appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has just ruled in favour of claimants; allowing them to continue with their equal pay claims in the High Court. The Supreme Court also re-affirmed that the time limit for starting High Court equal pay claims is six years (five years in Scotland).

Please note: this decision was about a preliminary point of whether or not these High Court claims could proceed to a full trial. It does not mean that the Abdulla claimants will now be paid out their equal pay back pay. The case is still very much at the beginning.

The case will now go back down to the High Court for a full trial of the main issues and to determine the amount of money owed to the claimants. This trial may well go on for many years to come and there is no guarantee that the claimants will be successful.

If they do not succeed, they will be liable to pay the Council's legal costs.

UNISON is currently reviewing the decision and its implications for our members.






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