More than £15 million has been forked out by the council on equal pay claims, with some cases still unresolved.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) is still settling seven of the claims, which compensate women who were historically paid less than men.

Around 96 per cent of cases have been settled but one councillor has accused RBC of “dragging its feet” in failing to resolve remaining claims that are more than ten years old.

Lib Dem councillor Ricky Duveen said: “This sorry episode should never have been allowed to drag on for so long and has darkened the reputation of RBC and indeed Reading Labour Party.

“It has shown up the difference between what is said in public about equal pay and what those bodies actually put into practice.”

Councillor Jason Brock, leader of RBC, said the equal pay issue is a “national scandal” and blamed Doran Law for the delays.

He said: “It is good that it has been brought to light in the way that it has. Of course, we would’ve wanted this resolved quicker.

“I so dearly wish Doran Law would consider some of their position.

“As they work on a kind of no win no fee basis, their interest is to drag these things out as long as possible and they are not necessarily acting in the interests of their clients.”

Local authorities nationwide have faced hefty claims from women who were historically paid unfairly.

The council has resolved 158 claims so far.

Along with the the seven unresolved original cases, 73 new claims have been lodged.

Why are the remaining seven cases taking so long to resolve?

Reading Borough Council (RBC) won a judgement in the employment tribunal over the seven remaining cases, but Doran Law overturned the decision at the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

The council is now appealing this decision to the Court of Appeal.

What about the new claims?

The 73 new claims about historic unfair pay were lodged by Doran Law on behalf of mostly existing claimants, according to the council.

Doran Law is currently establishing the number of valid claimants, with the council believing the legitimate cases to be less than 73.

Is there still a gender pay gap at the council?

Female workers at the council are still paid less than men on average, a new report has revealed.

This is different from historic equal pay claims, which look to right the wrong of women being paid less for the same work as men.

The gender pay gap looks at the difference between the average amount women and men are paid at all job levels.

The RBC Personnel committee report, ahead of a meeting next Wednesday (March 18) shows men working at the council earned 5 per cent more than their female colleagues on average last year.

The male mean hourly rate is £15.55, with the median hourly rate £13.90.

Women get £14.78 as a mean hourly rate with £13.20 as the median.

This compares favourably with the national average gender pay gap figure of 17.3 per cent but shows there is still a gap to be bridged.

This is shown by the number of male and female workers in each pay quartile:

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