Labour Research April 2002

Features: Law queries

Law queries

* Ten years ago some of the ancillary workers in our hospital transferred to a private company. Their rates of pay and enhancements are lower than those of the workers who remained in-house. Can we use the equal pay laws to claim parity with their jobs?

The issue of what rights workers whose jobs have been contracted out of the public sector have is at present unclear. The Court of Appeal has referred this point to the European Court of Justice. It has been asked to rule on whether workers, transferred out of the public sector, whose jobs had been rated as equal to those of workers remaining within the public sector, could bring an equal pay claim under Euopean law. A recent opinion of the Court's legal advisor suggests that the comparison cannot be made. However, until the Court itself makes its ruling, the law remains unclear.

More information: Lawrence v Regent Office Care [2000] IRLR 608