Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Falkirk Council Update

Here are a few posts from the blog site archive on Falkirk Council which highlighted the huge differences in pay between traditional male and female jobs. 

Now the question is whether these pay differences have been carried forward into the 'new' (post job evaluation) pay arrangements introduced by Labour-run Falkirk Council, in similar fashion to events in Fife Council, North Lanarkshire Council and South Lanarkshire Council.

I'll post contact details for the council leadership in the days ahead as I imagine there will be plenty of interest in where things go from here. 

Secret Bonus Earnings (09/01/08)

Falkirk Council has finally been forced to release details of the bonus earnings for its traditionally male (manual worker) jobs. 

And the results are truly amazing - no wonder the employers and the unions tried so hard to keep this information under wraps for so long!! Here are a few examples:

Grade - Manual Worker 3
Basic Pay - £11,694
Bonus Pay - £7,228 (not paid to women Grade 3 jobs - or their equivalent)
Percentage Bonus - 62%

Refuse Collector
Grade - Manual Worker 2
Basic Pay - £11,307
Bonus Pay - £6,649 (not paid to women Grade 2 jobs - or their equivalent)
Percentage Bonus - 62%

Gardener 2 
Grade - Manual Worker 2 
Basic Pay - £11,307
Bonus Pay - £6,649 (not paid to women Grade 2 jobs - or their equivalent)
Percentage Bonus - 62%

Refuse Driver 
Grade - Manual Worker 4
Basic Pay - £12,603
Bonus Pay - £7,094 (not paid to women Grade 4 jobs - or their equivalent)
Percentage Bonus - 62%

Grade - Manual Worker 3
Basic Pay - £11,694
Bonus Pay - £7,228 (not paid to women Grade 3 jobs - or their equivalent)
Percentage Bonus - 62%

Now these are some of the highest bonus earnings of any council in Scotland  perhaps in the UK as well!!

And all the while the details of these much higher earnings for traditional male jobs have been kept hidden from a largely female workforce - by both the employers and the trade unions - who should be thoroughly ashamed of their behaviour.

Despite all their brave talk about equal opportunities they have deliberately kept their women employees (and women union members) in the dark - costing them thousands of pounds a year.

That's why so many people have and continue to have a significant equal pay claim. 

How many women workers in Falkirk earn less than a Refuse Driver at £19,697 per year or £10+ per hour? Thousands - including lots of Admin & Clerical Workers, Classroom Assistants etc. 

Action 4 Equality and Stefan Cross set out to expose this hypocrisy - and in Falkirk Council it's laid bare for all to see.

Falkirk Council Update (22/01/08)

My recent post about secret bonus earnings in Falkirk has caused a bit of a stushie locally - see post dated 8 January 2008.

Hundreds of Action 4 Equality clients were shocked to learn just how much more the male jobs have been paid all these years - and how badly they'd been let down by senior managers and the trade unions.

But not everyone was in the dark it would appear, oh no!

Because Councillor Pat Reid (Labour) has been in touch saying that he's known all about the pay gap between the male and female workers - and what's all the fuss about anyway!

The 'fuss' councillor is that it's discriminatory and unlawful to pay groups of men more than groups of women - unless you can justify the difference in pay by pointing to the relative skills and responsibilities of the jobs that are being compared.

And who in their right mind would try to argue that a (female) carer, cook or classroom assistant is worth so much less than a (male) refuse collector, gardener or gravedigger? 

The difference in pay is worth thousands of pounds a year - and that is completely indefensible - unless, of course, you happen to be a senior council official or local union rep.

Small wonder Labour has lost so much support around the country - with people like Councillor Pat Reid leading the charge.

Falkirk Council Update (14/05/09)

An important hearing involving Falkirk Council is due to take place next month - on 19 June 2009.

Unusually, this is an appeal hearing because Falkirk lost a previous Pre Hearing Review (PHR) in 2008 - which were about the equal pay claims of Home Care staff, the biggest single group of claimants.

In 2008, the council tried to argue that equal pay claims from Home Carers should be treated differently from other Falkirk claimants.

Essentially, the council argued that the claims of the Home Carers should be restricted or limited - because of an internal reorganisation back in May 2002.

In the council's eyes this reorganisation changed people's contracts of employment and the nature of their claims.

So, the council argued that the equal pay claims registered on behalf of the Home Carers' should not qualify for the full period of 5 years backdating - to the year 2000 - as is the case for other ‘manual worker’ groups in Falkirk.

Sensibly, the employment tribunal rejected this argument, but the council then appealed the decision - using and wasting public money, in our opinion, to delay and frustrate what we believe to be perfectly valid claims - from a key group of highly dedicated staff.

We believe that next month's appeal hearing will decide the issue in favour of the Home Carers - so watch this space for further news.

Falkirk Council indicated a desire months ago to settle the claims on a negotiated basis - but it has been blowing hot and cold ever since - there have been talks behind the scenes, but as yet no firm proposals.

We are currently pushing the council to make up its mind - but if there is no progress, the scheduled hearing of the Stefan Cross cases goes ahead on 19 June 2009 as planned.