Former TalkTalk cybersecurity overseer rattles the tin to cover costs of equal pay dispute against UK ISP

Compo pledged to women's rights charities


A former TalkTalk programme director is crowdfunding the legal costs of an equal pay claim against the budget ISP.

Rebecca Burke was paid a basic salary of £110,000 for working in the company's cybersecurity programme in the wake of the catastrophic breach in 2015, during which personal and banking details of up to four million customers was thought to have been leaked, and which led to the loss of 150,000 customers and £60m in business.

During her time at TalkTalk, she oversaw both cybersecurity at the ISP, and a £20m trial project to bring fibre-optic broadband to three million UK homes.

She alleges that after being made redundant in May 2017, she discovered she was paid 40 per cent less salary and 50 per cent less bonus than three other male colleges in the same team doing the same job. The three male directors kept their positions.

It is illegal to pay employees performing the same job or "work of equivalent value" differently because of their gender, under the Equality Act 2010.

In December 2018, she funded a tribunal against the telco, but the case was postponed after a rare intervention by her barrister, Naomi Cunningham, who asked the tribunal panel to stand down on the grounds that it was hostile to her case.

The tribunal, chaired by Judge Graeme Hodgson, adjourned for several days to consider the request before declining to step down, which led to the case being rescheduled.

A final hearing date has been set to run from 27 January until 7 February.

In a post, Burke said she is looking to raise an initial target of £30,000, then working towards £40,000 by 12 November to present this case before tribunal.

She wrote: "By supporting this crowdfunding campaign you will also be supporting the Fawcett Society and Time's Up UK as any compensation or settlement I receive I have pledged to both charities so that we can continue the fight for equal pay together."

A TalkTalk spokesman told The Register: "We strongly refute these claims and we do not tolerate gender discrimination of any sort, including with regards to pay. This is an ongoing case so we cannot comment any further. However, we're committed to treating all our employees fairly and we are confident there is no disparity in pay between genders." ®

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