Female employees working at Avery Healthcare are taking their legal dispute to secure equal pay to their male equivalents to the high court.
The action first came to light in December last year, when 62 female workers issued a Letter Before Claim outlining their concerns.
The GBM trade union took up their case, and employed law firm Leigh Day to begin proceedings.
The number of women listed in the complaint, which will now go to the high court, has risen to 87.
Avery operates 45 care homes across the UK, but the initial complaint related to just 15 residences.
The GMB considers that these members are employed to carry out equal work to that carried out by men employed by Avery whose terms and conditions are more favourable than those of these members.
Chris Benson, acting for the GMB legal team, said: “Female members of GMB working as carers for local authorities have secured equal pay with the support of their union. Many also received back pay as well as better terms and conditions going forward.
“Those care staff compared themselves against jobs done by men such as caretakers and other male dominated roles.
“Carers working for Avery believe they are also underpaid and with the assistance of GMB have issued claims to ensure they too receive equal pay. The claims, which go back up to 6 years, could see members recover thousands of pounds in back pay they have been denied.
“GMB will also be working to negotiate better terms and conditions and hope Avery sit down and negotiate a proper wage for the female carers equal to that received by male caretakers who work in the same care homes.
“The carers provide an invaluable service looking after vulnerable individuals who most need our support and assistance. It is only right those carrying out such work are properly rewarded and not underpaid because of their gender.”
Justin Bowden, GMB national officer for the care sector, added: “Avery Healthcare has 45 care homes and employs over 2,000 women as carers and in other vital frontline roles, yet chooses to pay them less than men it employs in comparable roles. That is discrimination and it is against the law.
“Every one of the 2,000 women Avery Healthcare employs may have a claim for hundreds or thousands of pounds of compensation going back up to 6 years. GMB is appealing to all current and former employees of Avery to come forward so we can assess if they may be entitled to compensation.”
Avery was asked to comment by Care Home Professional and replied: “Thank you for approaching us for the opportunity to provide a comment but at the moment Avery have elected not to release a statement.”