Equal Pay FAQ’s

What is an Equal Pay claim?

Broadly, the law says that that a woman is entitled to be paid the same as a man (and vice versa) in the same employment doing equal work unless the employer can point to a genuine material explanation for the difference which is not based on sex.

Equal pay law is about equal pay, not fair pay. The fact that someone of a different sex earns more than you is not enough to establish an equal pay claim. The pay difference must be because of sex.

Is there a claim for Equal Pay?

UNISON has been at the forefront of equal pay claims up and down the country over decades, with UNISON securing £millions for our members in compensation. UNISON takes the matter of Equal Pay extremely seriously and have relentlessly led on campaigns, pursuing employers, and exposing discriminatory pay practices.

UNISON has made our position very clear to your employer, at the time it was implemented and recently, that we do not endorse nor like the current job evaluation scheme. It is the potential flaws in the JE scheme that are being investigated in respect of equal pay. We have written formally to your employer on more than one occasion to raise our concerns throughout the re-organisation process and we are taking part in extensive discussions to ensure our preferred scheme is used and implemented moving forward in the new authorities. These discussions are progressing well.

However, we need to be clear that just because we believe something is flawed and unfair, may not mean the process is unlawful. This is where UNISON has been focusing our investigation.

UNISON is currently investigating the possibility of equal pay claims that may have existed prior to the recent re-organisation and are currently undertaking an assessment of any such claims.

It is not clear nor guaranteed that any such claim does exist. However, to ensure that members are able to pursue claims and that any potential claim is protected we have made the decision to start early conciliation. There is a very tight deadline that must be complied with.

What is the deadline?

The final deadline for starting a claim is Friday 29 September. This is the date UNISON will lodge the claims through Early Conciliation (EC). EC is the process that is required to be undertaken prior to lodging a claim with the Employment Tribunal.

To be included in the Early Conciliation process by UNISON you must act immediately. It is a requirement that members complete a case form. If you wish to continue to be involved in UNISON’s work on this issue and agree that UNISON can trigger Early Conciliation on your behalf as required, please complete a UNISON Case Form and return it to enquiries@unisoncumbria.co.uk by no later than midday on Wednesday, 27 September.

If you have more than one job that may be affected, please complete a form for each job.

Triggering Early Conciliation does not necessarily mean UNISON will pursue this issue further than the EC stage. However, it will allow UNISON additional time to continue with investigations and will enable us to request further information from the employer directly and via ACAS.

UNISON members should return completed case forms to the branch office by Wednesday 27 September to be included in the claim.

Will there be any compensation?

It is not yet clear that any claim exists, Early Conciliation is being lodged to allow further time to continue with investigations.
Any claim that UNISON does take on behalf of UNISON members always results in the member receiving 100% of the compensation.

UNISON will not deduct any fees or commission from the amount awarded unlike other potential firms that may act on behalf of employees who operate on a no win no fee basis.

Why haven’t I received an email?

Emails have been sent to those members who have an up to date valid email on their membership record. If you have not received an email please check your junk folder and ensure you check your membership record to check whether your email address is valid.
Please go to My UNISON to register so you can access and update your details online or contact the Branch Office.

What happens if I leave my job?

So long as you have completed a case form and registered this with UNISON before the deadline of Wednesday 27 September you will be part of any potential claim. Please mark the form clearly the exact date that your job ended. This is important.

I have left my job, can I still claim?

So long as you are a current UNISON member and were working for Cumbria County Council between 2011 and present day you are entitled to join the potential claim. Early conciliation must start within 6 months less one day of the end of your role. Please complete a case form and make it clear what day your job ended and submit this by Wednesday 27 September.

I can’t complete the form, what should I do?

Please contact the branch on the details below.

I don’t know my membership number or date of joining, where can I find this?

Please contact the branch on the details below who can help provide you with this.

I have two jobs, should I include both on the case form?

Please complete an individual case form for each job that may be affected by this claim.

I am not a UNISON member, can I still join the claim?

You can only join the potential claim if you are a UNISON member. If you join online at join.unison.org.uk you can then complete a case form and return this to the branch on the details below.

If an equal pay claim was successful wouldn’t everyone get it anyway?

Not necessarily. It is best to be part of a claim that is being collectively pursued.

What happens when my claim is lodged?

The claim will be lodged with a process known as Early Conciliation (EC). Lodging EC ensures the claim is not out of time. The EC process involves ACAS and is a process of mediation to allow the parties involved to come to an agreement without having to go to an employment tribunal.

UNISON is going to start EC as a protective measure so that it allows more time to gather information to continue investigations. There is no guarantee UNISON will progress this claim beyond the EC stage. UNISON will keep you updated on the progress of the claim.

You may be asked for further details at any time, please be prepared to provide these in a timely manner should it be needed. This is one of the conditions under which you are offered legal assistance.

How do I contact the Branch Office?

You can contact the branch office by email at enquiries@unisoncumbria.co.uk or by phone on 01228 583530.