Dinner ladies 'victims of discrimination'

NORTH Yorkshire County Council discriminated against three dinner ladies by refusing to pay them salaries on a par with male counterparts, the House of Lords ruled last week.

The women, who won their appeal before Lords Slynn, Keith, Browne-Wilkinson, Nicholls and Steyn, were chosen by their union Unison as test cases for 1,300 colleagues who were forced to accept reduced terms of employment following the privatisation of catering services. The union estimates more than £2 million may be paid out in awards to workers.

The Law Lords held that the women had been victims of sex discrimination after a CCT exercise slashed their pay to a level lower than men employed by the council for work of equal value.

Lord Slynn said reducing the women's pay “was the very kind of discrimination in relation to pay which the Equal Pay Act sought to remove”.