The fight for equal pay

There has been much discussion around the issue of equal pay, following some high-profile council funding problems, and recent activity from other trade unions in local government branches in England.

UNISON’s position, as the leading trade union on equal pay, is supported by our history of successful claims, with members receiving millions in compensation. We continually monitor and consider the possibility of equal pay claims in our branches, thoroughly investigating whether there are grounds for a claim through rigorous assessment. Therefore, we have real concerns about the consequences of other unions running campaigns around equal pay which in some cases may even go so far as to misrepresent UNISON’s position.

If you become aware of a potential equal pay issue within your branch that you believe should be investigated here are 5 things you can do:

  1. Contact your regional office IMMEDIATELY. UNISON is closely monitoring the situation and needs to know the facts and legal position within your local authority in order to investigate whether there is an equal pay issue. We are also monitoring the location of activity around equal pay claims, as well as whether the branch involved is in the local government sector or not, so that we can ensure the appropriate support and guidance is provided to members.

Contact your region

  1. Keep members in your branch informed. It’s vital that UNISON members in these targeted branches are made aware that if there is a potential equal pay issue in their branch, UNISON will investigate matters and assess the merits of claims on their behalf, and there is no need for them to sign grievances or petitions by other unions. We have a template that you can use to send out to members, either via email or letter:

View the template wording

  1. Get out in workplaces and speak to members face-to-face. Whether it’s a scheduled drop-in session, a stall or a lunchtime meeting, it’s so important to speak to members so they can ask any questions that they may have around this issue and be assured that UNISON are the leaders on equal pay and will take the issue very seriously. If you need guidance, here are some key talking points:

View our talking points

  1. Create a form for members to complete around Equal Pay UNISON wants to be certain of the legal grounds for an equal pay claim before advising members. It will help progress any cases and ensure that members feel supported if they are asked to complete a form logging their initial interest in the issue that will allow them to be notified with further information as it becomes available. You can create a form using Microsoft Forms – an example of such a form can be found here.
  1. Reassure members with UNISON’s history on Equal Pay. UNISON has been at the forefront of equal pay claims across the country for decades. We take the issue extremely seriously and continually monitor whether there are grounds for bringing any claims against employers. Articles detailing recent wins can be found on our website, under news stories tagged ‘Equal Pay’. 

UNISON will continue to campaign, pursue employers and expose discriminatory pay practices. We put our members and their interests at the heart of what we do and will continue to do so.

To get further information and guidance on equal pay, you can visit our knowledge base:

Learn more

To download and share our short explainer video, click on the link to our media library – you can also find branded graphics to use on social media, web and email:

Visit the media library

Listen to UNISON’s Local Government podcast on job evaluation and equal pay. This episode features an interview with Kathie Dickson – UNISON’s job evaluation specialist. It’s 25 minutes long and well worth a listen to understand more about job evaluation and UNISON’s history of winning equal pay cases:

Listen to the podcast