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Union court victory paves way for thousands of NHS nurse equal pay claims

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Around 7,000 women will be free to pursue claims for equal pay against the NHS following a court ruling today.

The Court of Appeal ruled in the cases of Hurst v Suffolk Mental Health Trust and Arnold and others v Sandwell Metropolitan Borough council, that the women should not have to specify a male comparator when filing an equal pay grievance.

Today’s decision covers 5,000 women in the NHS and 2,000 in local government.

The cases involve nurses, healthcare assistants, clerical and medical staff, caterers and care assistans and cleaners and was brought Unison.

Bronwyn McKenna, Unison director of organising and membership, said: ‘I am very pleased that common sense has prevailed in this case. These employers were simply trying to deliver a knockout blow to the women’s genuine equal pay claims by concocting this get-out clause.

‘It would seem glaringly obvious to all that it would be nearly impossible for women just starting their battle for equal pay, to name their male comparator.

‘This is particularly true given that all the information is held and often closely guarded by the employers themselves.

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