Thursday, 24 May 2018

Glasgow MSPs and MPs

I think it's perfectly fair to point out that Glasgow's MSPs have been remarkably quiet during the long fight for equal pay in Glasgow City Council.

I said as much yesterday on Twitter, but some SNP supporters are remarkably sensitive to criticism, even friendly criticism, as you can see in the following exchange of Tweets.

Humza Yousaf Retweeted Jamie Maxwell
This week Tory Cllr has been exposed as former Security Advisor & active member of the BNP. He joins an increasing list of Tory bigots who are elected members. 

Humza Yousaf added,
Where is @RuthDavidsonMSP - no comment & no apology for letting multiple racists through Tory vetting #WheresRuth?

Jamie Maxwell
This is the 'moderate', 'centrist', 'detoxified' party Ruth Davidson runs.

Mark Irvine
Good point - but where is Humza on the big ‘kitchen sink’ issue regarding the fight for equal pay in Glasgow City Council?

Is that the fight that liebou r took to court spending 12 million of tax payers money,to fight against equal rights? Snp took over last may, and are awarding it! Is that what you are on about?

Mark Irvine
No, it’s dealing with the council in the here and now - good and bad - instead of pretending that because the City Council is SNP-led that everything is wonderful. Why don’t you listen to people instead of shouting silly political slogans?

Peter Shand
So the SNP actually doing something about it is a political slogan?

Mark Irvine
Not at all - the SNP Deserve credit where it’s due and I’ve certainly given them that - but no political party deserves people to behave line uncritical cheerleaders. Glasgow’s MSPs, for example, have been as quiet as church mice over the past few years while the battle has raged

The reality is that the fight for equal pay in Glasgow is far from over, despite the progress we made yesterday, and if you ask me there is a big role for MSPs as well as other politicians to play because the City Councillors does not have the resource( (borrowing powers, for example) to get out of this mess on its own. 


First Minister and Equal Pay (23/05/18)

Can anyone seriously believe that Scottish Ministers are unable to speak out and be critical Glasgow City Council's discriminatory, 'unfit for purpose' WPBR pay scheme - when they are perfectly OK with challenging Marks & Spencer's branding policy?

Here's a great story from The Scotsman which confirms the Scottish Government became directly involved in a row over the branding of Scotch whisky.  

Yet when equal pay claimants write to the First Minister about the long-running dispute in Glasgow, a civil servant always answers with the same message:

"Councils are independent of the Scottish Government......yadda, yada yada" (see post below dated 30 April 2018).

So, of course, Scottish Ministers can speak their mind which is even more true when they are speaking in their capacity as local Glasgow MSPs.

In the weeks ahead I think it would be great to hear what both Nicola Sturgeon (Glasgow Southside) and Humza Yousaf (Glasgow Pollok) have to say about:
  • Glasgow's 'unfit for purpose' WPBR pay scheme
  • The WPBR's controversial 37 hour 'rule' which discriminates against female jobs
  • The need for 'openness and transparency' over the role played by senior council officials during the introduction of the WPBR

Scottish Government challenged Marks & Spencer’s British branding for whisky 

By TOM PETERKIN - The Scotsman

Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy & Connectivity ''Fergus Ewing. Picture: TSPL 

The Scottish Government has contacted Marks&Spencer to ask why Scottish food and drink had been branded as being from Great Britain rather than Scotland, it has emerged. 

Rural Affairs Secretary Fergus Ewing was briefed on the interaction between a civil servant and the retailer after the M&S website suggested the country of origin for whisky and Scottish gin was Great Britain. 

Documents released to the Scottish Conservatives under Freedom of Information legislation reveal the government took the step when a row erupted in November last year. Last night the Scottish Conservatives said the Scottish Government would rather “berate” retailers for “daring to refer to the UK” than creating jobs and growing the economy. 

The row erupted when a reader contacted independence-supporting newspaper The National to complain about M&S’s website and asked why Scotland “only merits a listing under Great Britain”. 

He also pointed out that whisky was not referred to as “British whisky”. The reader was reportedly told by M&S that customers were happy with how whisky was categorised.

The FoI documents showed that a Scottish Government official contacted the company on 1 November last year and asked to speak on the phone to get “some info on press reports circulating around”. 

The following day, M&S replied, confirming that a telephone conversation had taken place. The company said the website listing was an “unfortunate mistake” which had been rectified. 

The civil servant went back to M&S asking if it intended to “send any tweets (or something) to clarify the situation”. 

The documents then showed that Mr Ewing was updated on the official’s dealings with M&S at a briefing in January this year. Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser accused the Scottish Government of wasting public resources on the controversy. 

He said: “There’s not a person in the world who doesn’t know whisky is Scottish. 

“But for the SNP to actively pressure a leading retailer in this way is petty and, frankly, a waste of public resources. 

“It shows just how parochial the SNP government is, that it would sooner berate businesses for daring to refer to the UK, than actually help them create jobs and grow the economy. Instead of obsessing about Saltires and pandering to the extreme elements of the Yes movement, the SNP government should be getting on with representing the whole country.”

 A Scottish Government spokesman said: 

“We appreciate the commitment that M&S and many other major retailers make to Scottish high quality food and drink. 

“These documents show we raised concerns with the company in a constructive manner. “Scotland’s food and drink sector is a huge international success story and it’s vital it’s promoted appropriately.”

First Minister and Equal Pay (30/04/18)

No person in their right mind would expect Nicola Sturgeon to set aside her day job to become a 'rat catcher', but I was intrigued by this article in The Times the other day about a plague of pests which has infested parts of the First Minister's Glasgow Southside constituency.

Because when people write to the First Minister about the fight for equal pay in Glasgow City Council, her spokesperson replies like a character out of Yes Minister by saying:

 "Councils are independent of the Scottish Government......yadda, yada yada" (see post below dated 24 April 2018).

But when it comes to an infestation of rats, mice and cockroaches in Govanhill the First Minister is 'closely engaged with the issues according to the following comment in The Times:

"A spokesman for the first minister said: "Govanhill, like many areas, faces specific challenges, and it is important that all sections of the community are included and involved in addressing those challenges. The first minister is closely engaged with issues in the area her constituency office is situated in the heart of Govanhill."

Now I don't know of any Glasgow MSP (or MP for that matter) who is closely engaged in the issues regarding equal pay - I send them information all the time via social media and email, but seldom do I get a response or a Like, Share or Retweet.

And there is a huge amount for MSPs and MPs to engage with by speaking out on a wide range of issues affecting their local constituents including:
  1. The City Council's discredited WPBR pay scheme which has been condemned as 'unfit for purpose' by Scotland's highest civil court, the Court of Session
  2. The WPBR's 37 hour 'rule' which was designed to disadvantage the City Council's largely female workforce
  3. The creation of Glasgow's ALEOs including Cordia which has treated thousands of Home Carers and other staff as second class citizens for years 
  4. The less favourable treatment women workers in GCC receive in relation to overtime working and holiday pay
  5. The case for a new Job Evaluation scheme (to replace the WPBR) which is open, transparent and commands the support of the workforce
  6. The need for openness and transparency over the introduction of the WPBR and the role played by the City Council's senior officials
So when equal pay claimants say they are being given the 'run around' by Glasgow City Council on these issues, I would expect local politicians to listen, get closely engaged and speak up on behalf of their constituents.

Which is presumably what's happening over the rats, mice and cockroaches in Govanhill.

Pests plague residents of Sturgeon’s constituency

By Marc Horne - The Times
Residents of Govanhill, one of Glasgow’s most impoverished areas, are affected by infestations - TIMES PHOTOGRAPHER JAMES GLOSSOP

The full extent of infestations of rats, mice, cockroaches and bedbugs affecting residents in the first minister's constituency has been revealed.

Glasgow city council figures have outlined the scale of the problem in Govanhill, home to many migrants and refugees. The district, which covers one square mile and has a population of 14,000, accounts for almost all insectrelated callouts to city council pest controllers.

Scotland's largest local authority spends more than £175,000 a year on pest control. However, efforts to contain the problem are being undermined by rogue landlords letting squalid, unhygienic properties and residents who are not washing the affected bedding and clothing at high enough temperatures to kill bedbugs.

The report throws further light on conditions in the area where specialist officers from the National Child Abuse Investigation Unit are conducting an inquiry, prompted by a Times report which revealed vulnerable children were being sold for abuse in the district.

Since 2009 almost 7,000 incidents involving bug contamination have been dealt with in the area, which is part of Glasgow Southside and is represented by Nicola Sturgeon. A further 3,000 cases featuring rats and mice have been recorded since 2014.

Paul McGrath, the report's author, writes: "From July 2008 to date, in excess of 6,700 bedbug and cockroach complaints have been received, involving more than 1,500 properties. Govanhill accounts for over 95 per cent of bed bug and cockroach complaints in the city. There are a number of factors pertinent to Govanhill which contribute to the current situation, aiding the spread of infestations. These include property disrepair, unhygienic properties, frequent resident moves, overcrowding and poor co-operation."

The document notes that council officers, accompanied by interpreters, regularly visit properties in the area to "encourage behavioural changes".

Mr McGrath adds: "Perhaps the largest problem faced in relation to bedbug treatments has been the fact that residents rarely fully prepare flats for sprays or wash clothing at 60C after treatment, which is essential to kill all life-cycle stages of the bedbug."

Cockroach callouts have fallen but the numbers involving mice climbed from 90 in 2014 to 724 last year and 303 rat incidents were also recorded.

Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour's health spokesman, called on Ms Sturgeon to take action. He said: "No one should have to live with pest or bug infestation in 2018 and it is time the first minister, whose constituency this is, and all the relevant authorities worked together to get this issue sorted out.

"Condemning people to live in conditions like this is simply intolerable and cannot go on."

Annie Wells, Scottish Conservative MSP for Glasgow, added: "The first minister prides herself on being a progressive politician constantly talking about the kind of place she wants Scotland to be. Yet in her own back yard appalling poverty is allowed to unfold." Many of those living in overcrowded and substandard rented accommodation are members of Govanhill's 4,000-strong Roma community.

Marion Nisbet of Crosshill and Govanhill community council said: "It's outrageous in the 21st century we have got children in Govanhill that are scared to get up and go to the toilet at night because the place is riddled with mice, cockroaches and the rest of it."

A city council spokesman said: "As a direct consequence of our pest control work in Govanhill the number of related calls has dropped significantly in the past four years.

"To get fully on top of this issue we ask for further co-operation from landlords and residents."

A spokesman for the first minister said: "Govanhill, like many areas, faces specific challenges, and it is important that all sections of the community are included and involved in addressing those challenges. The first minister is closely engaged with issues in the area her constituency office is situated in the heart of Govanhill."

First Minister and Equal Pay (24/04/18)

I am a fan of the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, especially after her speech on equal pay at last year's SNP conference in Glasgow. 

Equal pay claimants have been writing to the First Minister recently to express their concern about the painfully slow progress in settlement negotiations with the City Council and are receiving a standard response like the one below.  

Dear M

Thank you for your email of 8 March to the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, regarding the settlement of outstanding equal pay claims by the City of Glasgow Council. I have been asked to reply.

Councils are independent of the Scottish Government and are responsible for meeting their legal obligations to their employees, including those on equal pay. Ministers therefore cannot force councils to settle equal pay claims. However, Ministers have repeatedly made clear that delays by councils in settling equal pay claims are completely unacceptable.

Following the resolution of outstanding legal action last year we understand the council has been meeting Trade Unions to negotiate a settlement. Whilst the Scottish Government cannot intervene directly the First Minister said at the SNP conference on 10 October that equal pay will be delivered for women council workers in Glasgow. We hope the Council and Trade Unions will reach agreement and resolve all outstanding claims soon.

I hope this reply is helpful. 

Yours sincerely

Anthony Romain
Local Government Division and Analytical Services Division

Now this strikes me as 'Yes Minister' response because the civil servant who wrote this letter doesn't seem to know that Action 4 Equality Scotland, GMB and Unison are all involved in the settlement negotiations with Glasgow City Council.

A point of detail, perhaps, but civil servants are supposed to be very strong on detail, so who knows what's going on.

In any event, the real issue is nonsensical line that "Councils are independent of the Scottish Government......yadda, yada yada".

Because the point is not that people expect the First Minister, or any other politician, to storm the City Chambers and seize the levers of power.

Instead the point is that the First Minister and other Glasgow politicians are perfectly free to speak their mind and speak up on behalf of their local constituents - about the 'unfit for purpose' WPBR pay scheme or its blatantly discriminatory 37 hour 'rule', for example.  

Now Glasgow's politicians comment publicly on all kinds of things, as they should, on a daily basis and the fight for equal pay in Glasgow is no different, especially as this struggle is taking place in their own backyard.

Yet they seem strangely reluctant to say a great deal even though blatant examples of pay discrimination are occurring every day right under their own noses.

So over the next few weeks (in the run up to 22 May) we should aim to bring out the 'Wild Bunch' side of their personalities because for far too long they've been the 'Quiet Bunch', sitting on the sidelines as spectators. 


First Minister and Equal Pay (21/04/18)

Here's an excellent and heartfelt letter which a long-serving Home Carer has written to the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, about the fight for equal pay in Glasgow.

Dear Nicola.

As a woman working in a mainly dominated male environment and getting to the top slot in your chosen profession, 
I find it so frustrating to see the Scottish Parliament is allowing a long drawn out equal pay claim from GCC.

After having seen the salaries these officials are handing out to each other, what is the SNP going to do about a clear abuse of power in the biggest council in Scotland.

I have been a SNP voter since Margo Mcdonald won Govan in the 60s.

What powers if any, do the elected counsellors have in running GCC.

Having looked at the shambles the officials have created since 2005, if they were employed in the private sector they would have all been sacked for causing their company all the expense that was just disgraceful management in their part.

These officials who are giving themselves these massive pay rises plus pension increases are using the council as their own personal bank.

I have to wonder are there any grounds for the fraud squad to have a look at what they have been up to for years.

I would like to think that as the first minister you could do something to help out all these ordinary working women who are at an age where some of them have actually died awaiting a pay out from these council Oligarths.

So please please help us Nicola we need you.



Existing Cordia Worker For 22yrs

Now I can't say that I see any grounds for the 'fraud squad' to intervene, but I do take G's well made point that if this had happened in the private sector some of the people involved in Glasgow's decade long equal pay scandal would have paid a heavy price by now.

So I hope G's letter will inspire others to contact their local councillors, MSPs and MPs in the run up to the next settlement meeting with the City Council on 22 May 2018.

Believe me politicians do take these kind of letters seriously and the more people who take the time and trouble to state their case honestly and sincerely - the better it will be for all concerned.

One suggestion I would make is that a group of equal pay claimants from Nicola Sturgeon's local constituency (Glasgow Southside) should get together and ask Nicola for a meeting as the local MSP.

I don't expect Nicola Sturgeon or any other Glasgow politician to barge in somewhere they don't belong.

But Glasgow's politicians are entitled to speak out on important issues on behalf of their local constituents including: 
  1. Glasgow City Council's discredited WPBR  pay scheme which Scotland's highest civl court, the Court of Session, has condemned as 'unfit for purpose'
  2. The WPBR's bogus 37 hour 'rule' which was deliberately designed to disadvantage female dominated jobs in Cordia and elsewhere within the Council
  3. The nonsense of senior officials refusing to disclose vital information on the WPBR because this might cost Scotland's largest council more than £600. 
So let's hope that Nicola and other Glasgow politicians come off the fence, find their voice and start to speak up on behalf of local constituents who have been treated as second class citizens for years.

Man! I Feel Like A Woman

Shania Twain jumped into my head as I read this blog about a man who was inspired to join Labour by Jeremy Corbyn and is now standing for election as women's officer in his local constituency party.

Meet the man standing to be a Labour party women’s officer
By James Kirkup - The Spectator

David Lewis, who is standing for election as women’s officer in the Labour party

Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman. Except in the Labour Party, when it’s surprisingly easy. Just ask David Lewis. David, 45, is a member of the Labour Party. After several years of supporting the party, he became a full member last year having been “inspired” by Jeremy Corbyn. Tomorrow, David will be a candidate for election as an office-holder in his Constituency Labour Party in Basingstoke. He is standing for election as women’s officer, a post that Labour rules say can only be held by a woman. David is standing for that post because he is a woman. On Wednesdays, at least. When we spoke yesterday, he put it like this:

“I self-identify as a woman on Wednesdays, between 6.50am when my alarm goes off and around midnight when I go to bed.”

What does self-identifying as a woman mean? In what way is David a woman on Wednesdays?

“My womanness is expressed by my saying ‘I self identify as a woman’ now and again on Wednesdays. I make no changes in my behaviour or my appearance. I keep my name, David and my male pronouns. I wear the same sort of clothes I wear the rest of the week. I keep my beard. I enjoy the full womanness of my beard.”

The Basingstoke Labour Party last week accepted the womanness of David and his beard. He is listed as a candidate for election as CLP Women’s Officer, a post that involvesencouraging women to join the party and generally speaking for women, their concerns and their experiences. But who is a woman? In the Labour Party, among other places, the answer to that question is not always as simple as some people might expect.

Labour operates a policy of self-definition: if someone defines themselves as a woman, the party recognises that person as a woman, with no question, verification or scrutiny of that definition. This approach is intended to make the party inclusive and supportive of transwomen, people who were born male and later say they wish to change their gender and be recognised as female. Many advocates of greater legal rights for trans people say that accepting such self-identification is right and fair because “gatekeeping” checks, where trans people are required to “prove” their gender identity to another person or authority, are discriminatory and intrusive. “Transwomen are women,” they say, as if those three words are all that’s needs to settle this matter. More on this later.

The Labour approach on self-defining women also extends to the all-women shortlistsused to select the party’s candidate in some parliamentary seats. Some Labour members have doubts about the policy of self-definition. Some are feminists who worry that a policy that allows male-born people (who might have enjoyed the social and economic advantages that are often associated with being male) to compete for and hold women-only posts is unfair to people who were born female (and thus prone to social and economic disadvantage.)

Some raise legal questions. Generally, equalities law doesn’t allow organisations such as Labour to reserve jobs or services for any particular group, but the Equality Act 2010 includes some exemptions for single-sex services, because Parliament wanted to ensure that women could be guaranteed that there are some roles and places where men cannot enter.

Some Labour members have sought to bring a legal challenge against the party for opening up women’s roles to “self-defined” women. They argue that where transwomen are not legally recognised as women (i.e. they do not hold a gender recognition certificate) they cannot be entitled to posts that the law reserves for women. Some women have resigned from Labour over this issue.

Labour’s NEC, meanwhile, has insisted that the policy of treating self-defined women as women will stand. Which brings us back to David Lewis, candidate to be Basingstoke Labour’s women’s officer:

“After I looked at the NEC position and what it really meant, I thought, I’ll put my name forward for women’s officer. After all, what’s the worst that could happen? I expected them to say, ‘don’t be silly’ and politely decline my application. But they didn’t. They accepted my candidacy as valid.”

So he’s standing for a woman’s post. Why?

“My priority here is to inform the CLP, and maybe some other people, about what this policy means, about what happens when you say that someone’s gender depends only on what they say and nothing else.”

How would David respond to those who might say he is being offensive or bigoted, that he is trivialising the issues that transgender women face?

“I’d say those people don’t have any right to criticise my gender-identity. If I say I am a woman on Wednesdays, then all they can do is accept that. After all, there are other people who only identify as women on some days of the week and not others, and they are accepted, not criticised.”

David adds:

“In any case, anyone else’s criticism or questions about my gender identity are just not relevant to the Labour Party at the moment, given the current policy. If I say I’m a woman, I’m a woman.”

Now, if you’re new to this topic, you may by this point have come to appreciate that yes, in today’s Labour Party, anyone can be a woman if they say they are a woman, even David with his beard and his complete lack of any outward effort to live or pass as a woman. And maybe you might think “Yes, well, that’s the loony lefty SJW Labour Party, and nothing to do with the rest of us who aren’t part of it.”

If so, you’d be wrong, because that policy of “self-identification” could become the law for everyone. The Government will shortly bring forward a consultation on amending the law on gender recognition, where some groups will argue that people should be able to define themselves as a woman or a man (and thus obtain the associated legal rights and entitlements) without external check or verification.

Some people think that’s a good idea, because they say the current system institutionalises unfairness to trans people. Some people have doubts, because they worry that such rules could be (ab)used to erode the legal status of women, opening up their roles, jobs and places (for instance, domestic violence shelters, all-women colleges, hospital wards) to people with male socialisation and anatomy.

Many (but not all) of the people who raise questions about self-identified gender rules are women, women who are struggling to make their voices heard in what passes for the public debate about gender, because those who speak out are at risk of abuse and accusations of transphobic bigotry. Or even being assaulted.

Which is why what David Lewis is doing strikes me as important and worthy of attention beyond the lovely town of Basingstoke. David Lewis is a man standing for a post that the rules say should be open only to women. He can do so purely because he has said the words “I am a woman” and rigid adherence to the orthodoxy of “transwomen are women” means no one can question his claim. And if anyone who says “I am a woman” must be treated as a woman and granted the status and rights of a woman, does the word “woman” still have any meaning? You do not, I submit, need to a radical feminist to see that the logic of complete self-identification raises some quite profound questions.

Although I worry he’ll get his share of abuse for it, I think David Lewis deserves praise for what he is doing. He is standing for a woman’s job to make a point about what can happen to women when rules that affect them and their rights are made and enforced on the basis of blind dogma, not balanced debate. “We need to be able to debate this, we need to be able to talk about this without being told we are transphobic and to shut up,” David says, before adding:

“I completely understand the problems that trans people face and I can see the case for reforming a system that some people find difficult and undignified. But I think we have to have a proper debate where both sides are heard and there are people who raising valid questions who are not being heard. In the end, we need to have a compromise. And a good compromise is one where both sides are equally unhappy.”

Does he think there is any chance he might actually win his election and end up being elected as women’s officer? “I am hoping that my local party will be sensible.”

Merkel vs Markle

I loved this Facebook post from one of Glasgow's claimants who got a bit carried away with all the excitement of yesterday and ended up trying to enlist the support of German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, in the fight for equal pay with Glasgow City Council.

So who knows, if other enterprising readers have got in touch with the new Duchess of Sussex, we might just find we have one of the world's leading politicians and a member of the Royal Family batting for the Claimants Side

I'm truly going off my rocker I saw a post last night someone suggested sending Meghan Markle an email as she is a feminist and fights strong for social justice and woman empowerment so I did told the whole story when I went to check if any reply I've only gone and sent it to the German chancellor Angela Merkel I don't think I will be going to Germany for my hols oops.

E  ðŸ˜‚😂


Get Your Skates On, Glasgow!

The Bible Says The World Is Going To End 

On June 24, 2018

One of Glasgow's equal pay claimants shared the truly awful news that the world is going to end on 24 June 2018.

So I plan to share this post with the Claimants and Council representatives with a message for them both to get a 'fecking move on' before we all disappear in a giant  fireball in just a few weeks time.    

I'm sure the Claimants Side is up for the challenge - so let's hope the Council Side is too!


Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Why Glasgow's WPBR Had To Go!

What great news about Glasgow's discredited WPBR finally being put to the sword - now I know it's taken an long time, but be in no doubt that this is a huge victory for the claimants.

A big 'THANK YOU' is due to everyone who played a part in getting the claimants' 'unfit for purpose' message across to Glasgow's councillors, MSPs and MPs - and it just goes to show what can be achieved when people stay positive, stick together and refuse to be fobbed off. 

Because this time last year the City Council was defending the WPBR to the hilt and senior officials were reassuring Glasgow's councillors that their pay scheme was as 'sound as a pound' - and would see off any challenge at the Court of Session. 

But what a difference a year makes!

So congratulations all round and here is a series of posts from the blog site archive which explain why the Council's WPBR sucks 'big time' and why the scheme had to be replaced.

The task now is to agree a new job evaluation scheme (JES) and new pay and grading arrangements which are open, transparent and command the confidence of the council workforce.

The other big challenge is to get down to serious negotiations about compensating all of the equal pay claimants who have effectively been treated as as 'second class citizens' while the WPBR has been operating for the past twelve years.


Why Glasgow's WPBR Sucks (8)

Here is the stark and shocking reality of how the 'rules' of the WPBR have been designed by Glasgow City Council to disadvantage female dominated jobs while favouring traditional male jobs.

The most notorious example is the completely invented '37 hour rule' and the accompanying overtime working practices which treat women workers as second class citizens. 
  • 98% of male dominated jobs benefit from the 37 hour rule and O/T practices
  • 2% of female dominated jobs benefit from the 37 hour rule and O/T practices
  • No other work related benefit operates in this way - people don't have to work 37 hours to qualify for holiday pay, sick pay, maternity leave, paternity leave etc.
  • Put simply the 'rule' is a blatant example of the gender discrimination on which the whole WPBR is based.
Many Home Carers, for example, work more than 37 hours every week, but they are issued with separate contracts for working these additional hours so they don't qualify for premium, overtime rates.

If you ask me, the double standards built into the WPBR are completely indefensible which is why Glasgow's 'unfit for purpose' pay scheme has to go.


New Year Message for Glasgow (01/01/18)

If I were running Glasgow City Council, I would extend an invitation Frans de Waal's to explain the psychology of equal pay to the council's senior officials 

Watch this great excerpt from Ted Talks to see how low paid women workers in Glasgow have been treated for years, as second class citizens, paid in 'cucumbers' while their male colleagues were being rewarded with much juicer and tastier grapes.

But thanks to the long fight for equal pay and powerful backing from the Court of Session, Scotland's highest civil court, the tables have turned.

Glasgow's lowest paid, predominantly female workers now have the confidence to tell City Council bosses to stick their cucumbers where the sun don't shine! 


Why Glasgow's WPBR Sucks (7)

WCD has 6 levels from Level 0 (which attracts no payment whatsoever) to Level 5 which attracts the highest payment.

Level 0 - has 23% Men and 77% Women (0 to 44 points)

Level 1 - has 26% Men and 74% Women (45 to 54 points)

Level 2 - has 51% Men and 49% Women (55 to 63 points)

Level 3 - has 93% Men and 07% Women (64 to 72 points)

Level 4 - has 100% Men and 0% Women (73 to 79 points)

Level 5 - has 100% Men and 0% Women (80 points plus)

The position can be summarised as follows:

  • The highest concentration of women is to be found at WCD Level 0 which attracts a zero payment. 
  • Women also dominate Level 1 which attracts the lowest level of WCD payment. 
  • Traditional male jobs dominate Levels 2, 3, 4 and 5 despite the fact that men make up only 30% of the workforce.
  • Each WCD Level is awarded points and the points are worth money - except in the case of Level 0 which attracts no monetary reward. 
  • Level 0 has from 0 to 44 points, but these points do not get added to an employee's initial WPBR Grade even though the extra points would make a difference to some of the claimants' grades and Core Pay. 
  • The strange banding of points has clearly been designed to favour male dominated jobs - the first Level 0 band is 'up to 44 points' yet all the others have much shorter 'steps'.
Yet another reason the Court of Session decided that Glasgow's WPBR is 'unfit for purpose' although the City Council's senior officials continue to disagree.


Why Glasgow's WPBR Sucks (6)

WCD (Working Context and Demands) is a method for 'topping up' the Core Pay of GCC employees and is based on 5 additional assessment criteria - over and above the 10 criteria used to determine a job's initial WPBR grade and Core Pay.  

Again the 'rules' of WCD have been designed in such a way as to favour traditional male jobs.

Less than a third of women's jobs (just 32%) receive WCD payments despite the fact that women make up 70% of the City Council's workforce. 

70% of men on the other hand receive WCD payments which is another sign that a 'hidden hand is at work.

Whoever designed and finally signed off on the WPBR spent a whole bunch of time ensuring that the 'rules' worked to the disadvantage of predominantly female jobs.

The final scheme must have been approved by senior council officials and/or a relevant committee of Glasgow City Council, but the WPBR is shrouded in secrecy despite being, by far, the most significant employment issue the City Council had ever faced, up until the time its introduction in January 2007.


Why Glasgow's WPBR Sucks (5)

Here are some more killer facts and figures on Glasgow City Council's 'unfit for purpose' WPBR pay scheme.

  • Percentage of women who receive no (zero, nada) NSWP payment - 81.07%
  • Percentage of men who receive no (zero, nada) NSWP payment - 39.71%

  • Percentage of women who receive NSWP payments at Level A - 4.66%
  • Percentage of men who receive NSWP payments at Level  A - 4.18%

  • Percentage of women who receive NSWP payments at Level B - 7.26%
  • Percentage of men who receive NSWP payments at Level B - 30.49%

  • Percentage of women who receive NSWP payments at Level C - 3.58%
  • Percentage of men who receive NSWP payments at Level C - 6.83%

  • Percentage of women who receive NSWP paymentS at Level D - 1.10%
  • Percentage of men who receive NSWP payments at Level D - 14.63%

  • Percentage of women who receive NSWP paymentS at Level E - 0.23%
  • Percentage of men who receive NSWP payments at Level E - 0.24%

  • Percentage of women who receive NSWP payments at Level F - 2.11%
  • Percentage of men who receive NSWP payments at Level F - 2.92%

So let me see summarise the position as  follows:
  • more than 4 out of 5 women receive no payment at all in respect of NSWP
  • but fewer than 2 out of 5 men receive a 'zero' NSWP payment
  • in only one of the payment levels (Level A) do women outnumber men - by a very small margin
  • Level A is the lowest payment level
  • Level B - women council workers outnumber men by more that 2 to 1 (70% to 30%)
  • Level B - but 4 times as many men receive Level B payments than women 
  • Level D - women council workers outnumber men by more that 2 to 1 (70% to 30%)
  • Level D - but 14 times as many men receive Level D payments than women 
  • Levels C, E and F - women council workers outnumber men by more that 2 to 1 (70% to 30%)
  • Levels C, E and F - yet in each of these payments bands men outnumber women
Again it seems unarguable that the NSWP pay bands have been designed to work to the obvious disadvantage of female dominated jobs - there is no other explanation. 


Why Glasgow's WPBR Sucks (4)

Here are some remarkable facts and figures about Glasgow's WPBR Pay Monster which was supposed to tackle the problem of widespread pay discrimination and unequal pay in the City Council's pre-WPBR pay arrangements.
  • 60.29% of men receive NSWP payments.

  • But only 18.93% of women receive NSWP payments

  • Yet women make up the great majority of Glasgow City Council's workforce - 69.5% - let's just call that 70% for the sake of simplicity. 

  • Quite unbelievably more than three times as many men (60.29%) receive NSWP payments compared to women 18.93%). 

  • But all things being 'equal' you would expect women to receive 70% of NSWP payments - in line with their share of the workforce.

  • 70% of the total number of workers receiving NSWP = 60.29% + 18.93% = 79.22% x 70% = 55.45%.

  • Yet instead of 55.45% of women being paid NSWP only 18.93% of the female workforce receive these payments.

  • Again if all things were 'equal' the council's male workers would receive 30% of all NSWP payments or 60.29% + 18.93% = 79.22% x 30% = 23.77%.  

  • Yet instead of 23.77% of men being paid NSWP an eye watering 60.29% of the male workforce receive these payments.

What does this say about the WPBR other than the fact the at the WPBR Pay Monsters is a complete joke? 

If you ask me, the invented 'rules' of the WPBR have been deliberately designed to favour traditional male jobs which is why the Court of Session, Scotland's highest civil court, judged the pay scheme to be 'unfit for purpose'.

Surely it is indefensible for Glasgow City Council's most senior officials to continue backing this cockamamy scheme.


Why Glasgow's WPBR Sucks (3)

Just in case anyone thought that a Glasgow Road Worker enjoyed some great good fortune at the hands of the City Council's 'unfit for purpose' WPBR scheme - which resulted in a pay package worth more than £24,000 a year.

Here are several other traditional male jobs that were previously placed on a lower grade than a Home Carer, but which all leapfrogged over the Home Carers (who had previously been on a higher grade) as a result of the new, 'improved' and allegedly fairer WPBR pay arrangements.

The following examples are based on 2009 figures at the end of the WPBR protection period although the fact of the matter is that the higher pay of traditional male jobs continues to this day, i.e. into 2018.

Gardener 1  - £18,032
Home Carer - £16,300

Pay Difference - £1,732

General Labourer - £18,324
Home Carer          - £16,300

Pay Difference - £2,024

Gravedigger - £21,201
Home Carer - £16,300

Pay Difference - £4,901

Gardener 4  - £21,803
Home Carer - £16,300

Pay Difference - £5,503

Road Worker - £24,208
Home Carer   - £16,300

Pay Difference - £7,908

So what senior officials in Glasgow are inviting employees (and the public) to believe is that a whole raft of traditional, unskilled male dominated jobs which require no qualifications, all of a sudden fared a great deal better under a new 'improved' WPBR pay scheme - than the city's Home Carers.

Always remembering that the WPBR was introduced, supposedly, to address the problem of 'unequal pay' and the widespread pay discrimination in Glasgow City Council's pre-WPBR pay structures. 

Does your head button up the back, Glasgow? 

Does the council workforce have any confidence in the senior officials responsible for overseeing the WPBR process?

I suspect the answer to both of these questions is a resounding 'NO', but tune in again soon for - Why Glasgow's WPBR Sucks (4)


Why Glasgow's WPBR Sucks (2)

The table above shows the pay differences between a Home Carer (MW5) and a Road Worker (MW4) - both before and after the Glasgow City Council's infamous Workforce Pay and Benefits Review (WPBR) in 2007.

Now Home Carer on grade MW5, was on a higher grade on the male Road Worker on MW4  and that ought to have meant that the Home Carer was paid more than her male colleague - because the council's grading system awarded the Road Worker a lower grade.

However the pay reality (which had existed for years remember) was very different and the relative earnings of the two jobs was actually as follows:


Road Worker (MW4) - £24,901.78

Home Carer (MW5)  -  £12,438.00

Pay Difference -  £12,463.78


Road Worker (MW4) - £23,308.16

Home Carer (MW5)  - £16,646.49

Pay Difference - £6,661.67

So the pay difference narrowed after the introduction of the WPBR, but the Road Worker did much better out of the WPBR with all of its complicated and non-transparent 'rules' such as the NSWP which were designed to give a better outcome to traditional male jobs.

For a good example, look no further than the NSWP 37 hour 'rule' which pays £1,000 a year but only to jobs which are contracted to work 37 hours or more every week. 

98% of council employees who are not contracted to work 37 hours or more every week - are women, of course.

The big question is - "How did a WPBR scheme which was supposed to tackle the widespread problem of 'unequal pay' and big, hidden bonuses - end up favouring Glasgow's City Council's traditional male jobs?"

Because after all has been said and done, Glasgow's 'unfit for purpose' WPBR rewards a Road Worker with almost £7,000 a year more than a Home Carer.   

Not just that, of course, because back in 2005 senior City Council officials rushed in a compensation scheme which was capped at a total of just £9,000 when the real pay difference between a Home Carer and a Road Worker stood at £12,463.78 a year.

The council compensation scheme took no account of hours worked (i.e. overtime) and left many groups of workers out - even though they had perfectly valid claims.

Lots more to follow - so tune in again soon for 'Why Glasgow's WPBR Sucks (3)'.


Why Glasgow's WPBR Sucks (1)

A4ES held a special briefing meeting on equal pay in Glasgow on Friday 9 February 2018.

A group of claimants were present, along with representatives from Unison and GMB (the other claimant organisations) - Glasgow's constituency MSPs and MPs were all invited to attend along with to 'List' MSPs.  

The briefing kicked off with Stefan Cross explaining the nature of the discriminatory pay arrangements which existed across Glasgow back in 2005 

At that time 133 traditional male (comparator) jobs in Glasgow City Council enjoyed access to bonus schemes which boosted their basic pay by 50% or more.

So a male worker being paid £6.00 an hour was reality being paid £9.00, £10.00 or even £11.00 an hour depending on the particular job in question. 

The number of female dominated (claimant) jobs which enjoyed access to bonus schemes back in 2005 was - 0, zero, nada, none.

In other words, traditional male jobs which demanded a great deal less responsibility, skill and/or qualifications than comparable female jobs - were nonetheless being paid thousands of pounds a year more.

The Scottish council employers, including Glasgow, City Council had pledged to deal with this scandal of 'unequal pay' as far back as 1999, but six years later nothing had changed.

More to follow in the days ahead.

So watch this space because my next post will explain that pay differences between male and female jobs are still enormous under Glasgow's 'unfit for purpose' WPBR.