Monday, 2 July 2012
Clear As Mud
Unlike the trade unions in South Lanarkshire - I've been banging on about the lack of transparency in the council's pay system for years.
Here's a previous post to the blog site from October 2009 - which details an FOI request to South Lanarkshire Council regarding the pay rates of traditional male council jobs.
Now the trade unions must know the answers to these questions as well - because they negotiated the pay arrangements for the male jobs - yet ordinary union members are still being kept in the dark.
Which doesn't sound to transparent to me - so why don't the trade unions just come clean and stop siding with council management?
South Lanarkshire Council has been ordered to release this pay information by the independent Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) - but refused to abide by the SIC decision which was then appealed to the Court of Session.
Three senior Scottish judges in the Court of Session then threw out South Lanarkshire's ridiculous appeal - which has now been further appealed to the UK Supreme Court - in a desperate attempt to stop people finding out the truth about the council's pay arrangements.
Wasting huge amounts of taxpayers' money in the process - of course.
So what do the trade unions have to say about the council's cynical attitude and terrible behaviour?
Nothing, as far as I know - but if the trade unions want to say something positive and helpful on the subject - I'll happily publish their views on the blog site.
Clear as Mud (23 October 2009)
Just like every other council in Scotland – South Lanarkshire Council says it supports the concept of Freedom of Information – that it's a great believer in openness and transparency.
Of course, MPs in Westminster said that they were champions of Freedom of Information as well - at least until people started asking awkward questions about their expenses claims – then it turned into a different story altogether.
Earlier this year I asked South Lanarkshire some questions about where certain traditional male jobs were placed on the pay ladder – a simple, innocuous query, you might agree, which did not jeopardise national security.
All that was being asked was: "How are certain jobs within the council paid?"
Here are the original questions:
1. How many posts does the council currently employ in Job Category - Land Services Operative LSO 3 (2)?
2. How many of these posts are placed on Spinal Column Point 25?
3. How many of these posts are placed on Spinal Column Point 26?
4. How many of these posts are placed on Spinal Column Point 27?
5. How many of these posts are placed on Spinal Column Point 28?
6. Please specify how many posts/post holders in Job Category LSO 3 (2) were placed on salary preservation once South Lanarkshire Council introduced its local Single Status arrangements in April 2004?
7. Please specify the current number of preserved salary posts at each of the spinal column points between Spinal Column Points 29 to 50. In other words, how many LSO 3 (2) posts are preserved at Spinal Column Point 29, Spinal Column Point 30, Spinal Column Point 40 and so on – up to and including Spinal Column Point 50?
The council’s final response was to answer Question 1 only – i.e. that South Lanarkshire employs 578 staff on Grade LSO (3).
But the council has refused to answer the points 2 to 7 - on the basis that this is personal data that could be used to identify individual employees.
Now this is nonsense, of course – the information requested is about the number of employees at different points on the pay ladder.
So, that women workers (and the wider public) can see for themselves - how much more the male jobs are paid.
At the Labour party conference in September, Deputy Prime Minister Harriet Harman said that the next Labour government would bring in new legislation to force employers to publish such information.
Yet, South Lanarkshire Council - one of the largest in Scotland, and Labour-led to boot - is refusing to explain voluntarily what different council jobs are paid.
Significantly, no other council in Scotland behaves in this way.
But the way South Lanarkshire Council is behaving - you’d think it had a terrible secret to hide – that it’s embarrassed about the true size of the pay gap between male and female jobs.
So, the council’s decision is now being referred to the Scottish Information Commissioner.