A RETIRED Neyland care worker, who spearheaded a four year legal challenge against Pembrokeshire County Council (PCC) for equal pay by 100 former female employees, has expressed her relief following a legal settlement.

Former Havenhurst care worker Doreen Goldthorpe was one of 100 women working for the council in a variety of roles who were not paid the full amount due to them under equal pay legislation.

Last week’s total pay-out is believed to approach £200,000.

The pay-out follows a successful legal case brought by London solicitors Leigh Day & Co on behalf of Doreen and the other former council employees.

It follows a 2012 £3.5m settlement by PCC to settle historic equal pay claims.

Workers had pay gaps corrected – ranging from 1p to £2.07 per hour – to bring the wages of men and women in comparable jobs to the same level.

The payouts were limited to current employees and those who had left in the last six months.

However a group of women, including Doreen, felt they had been overlooked in the original settlement.

Leigh Day & Co later won a historic judgment in the Supreme Court against Birmingham City Council, which ensured equal pay claims could be brought in civil courts as well as employment tribunals, as well as extending the time limit for claims from six months to six years.

Doreen, who spent 17 years at Havenhurst before retiring four years ago, said: “We’ve all got different sums but we’re talking about thousands; the bill to the council must’ve been horrendous.

“I was relieved; all I used to have was phone calls saying: When are we going to have our money?

“I started doing it because I was underpaid, that’s how it started, and I was inundated. We were all different types of employment, cooks, carers and lollipop ladies.”

Doreen expressed her anger at the time taken.

“It’s disgusting, Bryn Parry Jones (former PCC chief executive) got paid out and we were still waiting. We worked for our money and yet he had it.”

A PCC spokesman said: “A settlement has been agreed with just over 100 ex-female employees relating to compensatory payments in lieu of equal pay.

“There was no undue delay in reaching a settlement.

“Until relatively recently some of the claimants would not have been liable for a pay-out as there was only a six month window in which a claim could be made.

“However a landmark case involving Birmingham City Council in 2012 increased the window for lodging a claim to six years.”