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ST HELENS OFFERS CARE WORKERS EQUAL PAY DEAL

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Around 400 care workers at St Helens MBC are considering whether to accept a£1.2 million equal value pay-out, givi...
Around 400 care workers at St Helens MBC are considering whether to accept a£1.2 million equal value pay-out, giving them between£40 and£2,500 each.

Unison lodged an equal pay claim on behalf of the residential care workers - almost all women part-timers - following a 1996 equal pay victory for Knowsley MBC care workers.

The union claimed the council's cuts to shift allowances, weekend enhancements and other benefits were discriminatory.

An industrial tribunal was due to begin hearing the case this week, but was stalled to give workers the chance to consider a council offer.

Unison branch secretary Eddie Tickle said the offer consisted of compensatory payments, calculated individually, of between£40 and£2,500. The total cost of the deal is around£1.2 million.

Mr Tickle said the only sticking point was anomalies in the council's formula, which meant people with similar working patterns were offered very different settlements.

The women were to meet this week to decide the way forward. Mr Tickle said if they supported the offer it would go to a postal ballot.

He said the union was working to get the best possible deal for all the women and would prefer to settle without going to the tribunal.

'The council seems to acknowledge the fact that what they did was wrong but what we'd like is for people to get every penny [that was] taken off them.'

Head of human resources Sheila Samuels confirmed that the council had made an offer to settle but would not comment on its size.

Discussions were at an 'uncertain stage' and there was still a chance the case would go to a tribunal hearing, she said.

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