Derbyshire council settles fair pay claim with teaching assistants

A £500,000 equal pay deal with female teaching assistants at Derbyshire County Council will avoid hundreds of job cuts, the council has said.

The long-running legal dispute over fair pay could have cost up to £80m.

Council chief executive Nick Hodgson said the agreement was the result of "reasonable discussions" with the council's trade unions.

"It's a good deal for the employees and a good deal for the council," Mr Hodgson added.

Fewer cuts

The council will pay £40,000 to 12 teaching assistants who had lodged equal pay claims and another £100 each to the remaining 3,000 assistants who had not yet lodged claims.

Processing the 3,000 claims would have taken about three years and the council "may have won the cases anyway", he said.

He said the council had now implemented a single status pay structure with "people doing jobs of similar value getting similar money".

"If it had been a big payout it would have meant cuts to services and layoffs," he added.

Scott Kingswood of the trade union Unison, which represents the workers, said: "It was simply a matter of tidying up a fair pay issue - and making sure our members were being treated fairly in their equal pay claims."

The council settled a similar claim over pay with 400 night-care assistants earlier this year for £750,000.

The county council is looking to shed 2,000 jobs and save £84m over the next four years.

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