Unison has warned councils not to breach employment lawPublic sector organisations have been warned by trade union Unison to ensure any impending job cuts are fully compliant with gender equality legislation or run the risk of being hit with legal action.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis claimed his group will instigate lawsuits against any public sector group which it considers to be cutting back on its diversity obligations and claimed women will suffer most from reductions in spending.

"We have spent decades fighting for equal pay and to ensure that women are treated fairly in the workplace. We will not stand back and see all that work undone by councils," he said.

Mr Prentis added that the UK legal system could be clogged up by such cases "for decades" unless councils and other public sector firms carry out the necessary assessments before laying workers off.

Last week, EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding suggested that gender quotas could be imposed by 2012 unless leading European firms appoint more female employees to senior roles.

Posted by Hayley Edwards