£150,000 equal pay victory lifts lid on pay inequality at Royal Bank of Scotland

Unite the Union has warned today (Thursday 9 May) that Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) could be facing a raft of equal pay claims after helping to secure a £150,000 payout in an equal pay case involving a female support analyst in NatWest Markets’ technology division.

The case supported by Unite legal services was brought by former RBS employee Miss Williams, who after a seven-year period at the bank was receiving pay and benefits worth £31,610 less per year for doing the same job as her male counterpart.

Miss Williams was employed between 1 September 2010 and 15 November by RBS, and started on a salary of £45,000 while her male counterpart, who started around the same time, had a salary of £65,000. Both received benefits packages with Miss Williams receiving 15 per cent of her base salary and her male colleague 25 per cent of base salary.

Miss Williams raised the pay disparity with management who consistently failed to address the issue. Her employer allowed the pay disparity with her male colleague to increase further when he received a £3,000 pay rise in 2016 and a further pay rise of £2,000 and bonus of £2,000 in 2017. For both 2016 and 2017, Miss Williams received a pay rise of just £300.

After raising a grievance in June 2017, Miss Williams was made redundant by the bank in November 2017. Miss Williams was offered £150,000 to settle the case in October 2018 if she agreed to a gagging clause, which she refused to do.

The case was finally settled three days ahead of an employment tribunal which was due to sit on from 25 March after RBS dropped the confidentiality clause.

Unite assistant general secretary for legal services, Howard Beckett, said: “It is simply staggering that nearly 50 years on from the Equal Pay Act, that a taxpayer-funded bank has been found to be discriminating against a female employee to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds.

“The determination of Miss Williams to pursue this case with the support of Unite and her refusal to be gagged by RBS has lifted the lid on pay disparity at the bank and could lead to further equal pay claims.

“We now know that the number of women who received a bonus in 2015 was 20 per cent compared to 39 per cent of men and that a year later the gap widened further still. Just 13 per cent of women got a bonus in 2016 compared to 46 per cent of men.

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

Unite national officer, Rob MacGregor, said: “This really is a shocking case of unequal pay and undermines the credibility of the employer's supposed 'fair' pay philosophy. It also points to something very wrong within the bank and there is an urgent need for RBS to get its house in order.

“We are calling on RBS to engage with Unite to ensure that the employer has an independent, fair and transparent evaluation process for all job roles across the workforce.”