Friday, 13 January 2012
A reader from Edinburgh got in touch the other day to point out that many men - as well as women - are affected by equal pay.
Now I knew that already of course - just as I know that the trade unions were responsible for keeping their members deliberately in the dark - for many years.
To my mind the trade unions were all far too busy - at the time - cosying up to the big Labour run councils - and Labour dominated COSLA (the 'voice' of local government).
And this lack of support and poor advice from the unions affected all categories of council workers - men as well as women - ex-manual workers along with former APT&C workers.
So here's what I had to say to the reader - along with a previous post to the blog site from all of five years ago - in December 2007.
Yes, I'm well aware of that and Action 4 Equality Scotland has been telling male workers for years - both ex-manual worker and ex-APT&C - that men have perfectly valid claims.
Unfortunately, the unions were not just slow off the mark because they deliberately kept their members - both male and female - in the dark about equal pay for many years.
If you look on the Action 4 Equality Scotland blog site - you will be able to read lots of comment and information on this very issue.
The bottom line is that the trade unions should be ashamed of the way they let their members down.
School Janitors and Duff Advice (December 2007)
School janitors are a predominantly male group of workers who - along with many others - have been badly let down by poor advice from their trade unions.
School janitors were on some of the highest old manual worker grades (MW 5, 6 and 7) reflecting their responsibilities - but just like many women workers they still routinely earned much less than the bonus earning male groups on lower grades - such as refuse workers, gardeners, gravediggers etc.
When Action 4 Equality came along and lifted the lid off equal pay - we advised school janitors and other male groups that they too had valid equal pay claims - although they relied on the women workers winning their claims first.
At the time, the unions rubbished this advice claims and told their male members that they were wasting their time. In Glasgow, for example, where the GMB union represents most of the school janitors local officials laughed in their members faces - and told them not to waste the union's time.
But now the trade unions' have egg all over their faces - because the Employment Tribunals in a recent test case (Abbott and others v South Tyneside Council) have agreed with Stefan Cross and Action 4 Equality - by deciding that male workers do indeed have valid equal pay claims.
Male claims are limited to the date when the first female claims were registered - in many cases around October 2005 - but the judgment also means that if employers leave the male groups out of local equal pay settlements - then the male workers can complain of deliberate, direct sex discrimination - and raise a separate claim for 'injury to feelings'.
The bottom line is that these male groups are still very much at the races when it comes to equal pay - and still have valuable claims - notwithstanding the visible lack of trade union support for their own members.
It's not too late to register a claim - if you know of anyone who falls into his category - tell them the news and spread the word.
Jannies of the world unite - you have nothing to lose and much to gain!