Birmingham City Council faces £760m equal pay liability

Birmingham City Council has revealed it needs to pay up to £760m to settle equal pay claims following an investigation into its malfunctioning IT system Oracle.

The bill is £10m more than its entire revenue budget for the year meaning there will be “significantly fewer resources available in the future” with the council looking to “reprioritise” where it spends taxpayer money.

Conversations are already being had with officials at the Department of Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities as the council looks to salvage an outcome.

A total of £1.1bn has already been paid over the last decade in relation to the settlement of Equal Pay claims.

This is another major error for Birmingham City Council after the implementation of its new IT system Oracle rocketed from £20m to £100m in cost. A report was recently released, revealing the council needed to request £46.53m this year to fund the required work.

Former leader of the Labour-ran council Ian Ward was also ousted out last month and replaced by Cllr John Cotton, after a report found a “dysfunctional climate”.

GMB Union says its members at Birmingham City Council have been campaigning since November 2021 for equal pay.

Michelle McCrossen, GMB Organiser, said: “GMB members in Birmingham City Council have been campaigning for equal pay for years, because we believed that the council’s pay scheme discriminates against its women workers. Today’s shocking confession from the council proves that we were right to do so.

“The council has fought our union every step of the way, defending their discriminatory pay scheme at tribunal hearings and refusing to release pay information.

“Now we can see why. The extent of the discrimination is far worse than anyone could have imagined, and it’s clear the council has learned nothing from their shameful history of undervaluing women’s work.

“Today’s explosive admission from the Chief Executive completely blows apart the Council’s legal defence, so it’s now time for them to get serious about meeting with GMB and repaying the wages stolen from their low paid women workers”.