Published: 12/12/2001, Volume II2, No. 5835 Page 8

Two hundred female hospital cleaners in north Cumbria are underpaid by£3,000 a year, say employment experts.The domestic assistants are the latest staff to win backing from independent experts in a landmark legal battle in which Unison claims women NHS workers are being paid thousands a year less than men for work of 'equal value'.The cleaners were compared to a male maintenance assistant, earning about£12,000 a year.Staff nurses and nursing assistants at North Cumbria Acute Hospitals trust have already won backing from tribunal-appointed experts.The D-grade nurses were judged to be doing work which was equal to that of a£26,500 male electrician.A trust spokesperson said the trust could not comment because they have yet to read the latest reports.