Royal Parks Workers Bring Equal Pay and Race Claims in Landmark Case

A group of Royal Parks workers are taking their indirect race discrimination case to the Court of Appeal. This follows a history in the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeals Tribunal. If they succeed, they claim this landmark case could put an end to exploited outsourced contract workers.

Below, we explore the developments in the case and look back on its history. We also discuss the public reaction to the case and provide some of their responses.

If you have experienced indirect race discrimination and want to claim compensation, contact Redmans Solicitors now. We are employment law specialists and could uncover your eligibility to make a claim. To start your journey with us, get in touch now by:

Royal Parks Workers Underpaid for Five Years

Royal Parks is a charity that looks after more than 5,000 acres of parkland in the capital of London. The parks they manage include Hyde Park, Regent’s Park and Kensington Gardens. The dispute began when a number of outsourced Royal Parks workers learned they were being paid less than their in-house counterparts.

Whilst 90% of the outsourced Royal Parks toilet cleaners were BAME, 87% of the in-house staff were white. What’s more, between 2014 and 2019, the outsourced contract workers received a minimum wage of £8.72 an hour. Comparatively, the in-house staff received the London living wage of £10.75 an hour during the same period. 

Things only changed for the outsourced staff when they went on strike in 2019. One of the Royal Parks workers was a Ghanaian woman who emphasised her difficulties during the period. She, along with the other claimants, believed they were paid at least £4,000 less a year during that time.

She stated, “We’re living in London where the rate is very high… It’s very difficult to live with that little money that we had”. Then she said, “If the British public knew about what we the workers are going through it would really shock them”.

UVW’s Indirect Race Discrimination Case Developments

The United Voices of the World Union (UVW) first brought the indirect race discrimination case in 2021. The UVW represents low-paid, migrant & precarious workers, just like the Royal Parks toilet cleaners. 

Initially, they were successful with their case at the Employment Tribunal in November 2021. There, it was established that not paying the outsourced Royal Parks workers equally to in-house staff was indirect race discrimination. 

The UVW claimed the government were “so threatened” by this decision that they intervened, claiming substantial ‘copycat claims’ would follow. Despite this, the government were unsuccessful, as their application to step in was dismissed.

However, due to what the UVW described as a ‘technicality’, they lost at the Employment Appeals Tribunal in May 2023. This could have been the end, but the UVW fought on and will now argue to the Court of Appeal, the second highest Court in the UK behind the Supreme Court. Regardless of the outcome, the UVW fully expects the case to go all the way to the Supreme Court. Yet they believe this is a worthwhile fight to end inequitable outsourcing like that of the Royal Parks workers.

The Public React to the Case of the Royal Parks Workers

Following the news that this case was entering its third round of proceedings, a mass of public reaction followed. Many showed their support for the Royal Parks workers, wanting to demonstrate solidarity with them and wishing them luck.

One X user called the contract workers courageous for fighting against the race and pay disparities they’d experienced. Another labelled the outsourcing practices as scandalous. Then, several others stated this case showed the types of institutional racism many face in the UK.

Overall, it appeared the mass public reaction was in favour of the Royal Parks toilet cleaners. Now, it will be interesting to see how this case develops, what the Court of Appeal decide and whether this will ultimately proceed to the Supreme Court.

If you have faced something similar to the Royal Parks workers and don’t know what to do, contact us today. Redmans Solicitors could discuss your circumstances and advise on how you could proceed. Furthermore, to ensure we help meet each client’s individual needs, we offer various funding options.

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