P was employed as a nursery nurse and sough tto use male clerical staff as her comparators who were employed by D but at a different establishment, so that she had to establish ‘common terms and conditions (under s.1(6) EqPA). HL held that it would be necessary to compare that actual terms and conditions observed at the two establishments applicable either generally or to a certain class of employees. In this case they were all employed under the same collective agreement, so that it wasn’t a problem that there were some differences in their contracts, and s.1(6) was satisfied.
Lord Bridge: A loose approach to s.1(6) is needed: “The concept of common terms and conditions of employment observed generally at different establishments necessarily contemplates terms and conditions applicable to a wide range of employees whose individual terms will vary greatly inter se.” Therefore there can still be big differences in the contracts of the comparators and s.1(6) still applies, provided that there is ‘general’ observance of common terms and conditions of work. Contracts which, despite varying, are all made within the boundaries set by a collective agreement, appears to be the ‘paradigm’ example of the situation s.1(6) applies too. However there was a material difference between P and comparators since
Lord Templeman: There were material differences e.g. no. hours worked and holiday time. It was unnecessary (and impossible) to show exact correspondence between the material differences and the pay difference. All that was needed was to show that the different pay was ‘genuinely due to’ the material differences.