Tuesday, 4 September 2007


Trade unions deliberately deceiving and withholding information from their members is, sadly, nothing new - but what's now becoming clear is just how bungling and incompetent they are in dealing with people's equal pay claims.

Maybe they're not really committed to the cause, but in any event here's another terrible example of how ordinary union members are treated. As the person is still employed with North Lanarkshire Council, her personal details are being withheld.

Like most of her colleagues, R had heard nothing from her trade union (Unison) about equal pay until Action 4 Equality and Stefan Cross came along.

After years of deliberately keeping their members in the dark, the unions were finally forced off their lazy backsides in 2005 - and shamed into circulating information to members, albeit belatedly and with little enthusiasm, offering to take up their claims.

R thought she had a good case (which she did) and contacted the Unison North Lanarkshire branch for help. She spoke to a local rep at the union's Motherwell office - who sent out the required forms, which were duly completed and returned.

Wisely, R kept a copy of the original forms submitted to the union branch - never underestimate the power of holding on to the paperwork!

R then made enquiries about the progress of her case - and was always assured by the Unison branch that everything was fine - her documents had been passed on to the Glasgow HQ, and not to worry etc, etc.

In August 2007, R contacted Unison again for an update on her case, but was suddenly referred to the Glasgow HQ by the local branch.

R spoke to an official who asked for her union membership number and then broke the bad news - there was no record of her claim ever being raised by Unison

Worse was to follow - R was then told that her claim (by then) was time barred because of the 6 month rule - and that Unison could do nothing further to help.

In other words, Unison - the country's largest union - had completely screwed things up and was entirely responsible for the mess - but nonetheless R was now out on her own!

But, thankfully, that's not the end of the story - because R can do 2 things to fight back against the union bureaucrats.
  1. She can still submit an equal pay claim - despite Unison failing to do so on her behalf, although she has lost at least two years of her claim because it is being registered in 2007 instead of 2005
  2. She also has an excellent claim against Unison - because even though the union won't admit their awful mistake, it's down to Unison's negligence and incompetence that her claim is now time barred
So, Unison should compensate R for the loss has suffered - and that's where Action 4 Equality and Stefan Cross come into the picture.

R and many others like her are being denied proper, professional advice. Why? Because it's in the unions' interests to bury their mistakes rather than own up to them - and that's certainly how they've been behaving up till now.

So, we will sue Unison on R's behalf. She's also due a very big apology for the callous way she's been treated.