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Dinner ladies win equal pay victory

Nearly 1,000 women council workers including cleaners, carers and dinner ladies are to share a multi-million pound payout under a "historic" equal pay deal.

Unison said the agreement with Bury Council settles a number of equal pay claims from women who were paid less than their male colleagues for doing work of equivalent value.

Bury was the first council that Unison targeted with mass litigation for equal pay in 2007.

The union said the council has "wasted" more than £1 million of public money by fighting the claims through the courts.

The lengthy legal battle has included more than 30 days of tribunal and appeal tribunal hearings.

Unison said the deal was worth several million pounds to the women.

The settlement means that a Court of Appeal hearing, scheduled for March, will no longer go ahead, said the union.

Unison official Steve Stott said: "This is a great day for the low paid women carers, cleaners, caterers and many others working for Bury Council. They have been waiting long enough for pay justice.

"It's also an historical day - this is the first council that Unison targeted with a mass litigation case for equal pay, after it failed to take the issue of fairness seriously.

"We are pleased that the council has at last accepted its responsibility to treat its women workers fairly. Most of the women's claims were first lodged in 2007 and for nearly five years the council has been wasting precious public money trying to defend the indefensible."

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