Monday, 9 July 2012
World's Greatest Mysteries
One of the great mysteries of our time can be stated as follows:
'Why did the trade unions in South Lanarkshire fail to protect their members' interests by lodging protective equal pay claims when the council introduced a local in-house job evaluation scheme (JES) back in 2004?"
Because if they had done so at the time - everything would now be just tickety boo.
A member unhappy with the outcome of the JES process - which the Employment Tribunals have effectively struck down in South Lanarkshire - would be able to say:
'You know what, I think my job is worth just as much as a refuse worker or a gardener or a gravedigger - and I'm going to challenge the fact that I'm paid much less.'
In which case a successful claim would have gone all the way back to 1999 - five years from the date it was lodged - to the year when the 1999 Single Status (Equal Pay) Agreement in Scotland was introduced.
But of course South Lanarkshire Council ignored the advice of COSLA - to use a tried and tested JES which had been developed specifically for use by councils in Scotland - with national trade union support.
No, instead South Lanarkshire developed its own local, 'in-house' JES which did not have wider support or approval - and the trade unions went along with this approach without checking carefully what the consequences might be for their low paid women members.
And the rest is history, as they say.
Which is why the trade unions have a lot to answer for - even though the council is ultimately responsible for what happened.
Because if the trade unions in South Lanarkshire had done their job properly - instead of being led by the nose by the council employer - then none of this would ever had happened.
Or if it had - then union members would have had all their rights protected.
As it happened things only began to change in 2005 when Action 4 Equality Scotland came on the scene - but at that time the trade unions in South Lanarkshire were not interested in challenging the council over equal pay.