Claim settled out of court after pay audit shows gender pay gap unlikely to close due to public sector pay freeze

Tim Lezard

ProspectWomen working at the Intellectual Property Office have won an equal pay claim worth at least £8,000.

The six Prospect members took the claim after an equal pay audit found there was a significant gender pay gap in their pay band – a gap that was unlikely to close due to the public sector pay freeze. The claim was settled the day before a hearing was due to begin at the Cardiff Tribunal.

A joint announcement from management and Prospect said: “We are pleased to have reached agreement on the settlement of a number of equal pay claims brought by Prospect members in the C2 pay span.  As a result of the settlement, with effect from 1 May 2013, the pay span for all C2 staff (patent examiners and other staff) is being shortened to range from a minimum of £50,673 to a target rate of £54,512.  Existing staff will be assimilated into the new pay span with a flat-rate increase of £8,000, or to the new target rate if lower.”

Prospect members at the IPO are taking industrial action over pay, with legal officer Marion Scovell saying the case shows how effective the combined approach of litigation and negotiation can be in resolving the gender pay gap and creating a fairer system for members.


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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