May 9, 2019 / 10:50 AM / a month ago

Former RBS female employee wins equal pay case: UK's Unite

(Reuters) - Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union, Unite, said on Thursday a former female employee of Royal Bank of Scotland won an equal pay case against the state-backed bank, and warned that more such claims could follow.

People walk past a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland in London, Britain December 1, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Pay disparities in Britain have come under the spotlight since the government forced businesses to submit gender pay gap figures annually from last year.

The employee, who served at RBS between September 2010 and November 2017, won 150,000 pounds ($195,030) in a case that was backed by Unite's legal services unit, the union said in a statement here.

“We take a fair and inclusive approach to setting pay and career progression and do not pay our colleagues differently for doing the same job because of their gender,” an RBS spokesman said in an email.

“In this particular case ... we don’t think we got things right in certain areas and therefore have agreed a settlement to resolve the matter,” the spokesman said, adding that the bank did not agree that any difference in pay was based on the employee’s gender.

Major financial services firms in Britain have made very little progress in narrowing the gap between male and female pay and more than a third have gone backwards, a Reuters analysis of gender pay data showed here in April.

HSBC had the biggest gender pay gap of the companies surveyed, at 61 percent, a widening of two percentage points from a year ago.

Financial firms have on average reduced pay disparities by just over half a percentage point in the last year, the analysis of 89 of the biggest companies showed, highlighting the lack of progress in the sector with the worst average pay gap in Britain.

The poor figures come despite finance companies publicizing a raft of initiatives to close the gap, from hiring more women in senior roles to mandating mixed gender shortlists and promoting flexible working.

“Unite will be reviewing the implications of this case and won’t hesitate to support further equal pay claims,” the union said.

Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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