Sunday, 18 October 2015

NLC Update (17/10/15)


GMB members pursuing equal pay claims in North Lanarkshire have apparently all received a letter to say that as from 9 October 2015 they are no longer being represented by Digby Brown Solicitors who have been handling their cases up until now.

Not only that, but members' claims appear to have been transferred lock, stock and barrel to another legal firm in the shape of Thompsons Solicitors.

So it appears that the GMB have washed their hands of Digby Brown although no one has taken the trouble to explain what's going on to the ordinary union members who are most directly affected by these events.

The new acting regional secretary of the GMB in Scotland, Gary Smith, has said previously:

"I (Gary Smith) have launched a full investigation into the North Lanarkshire case and a complete assessment of the legal strategy pursued by Digby Brown in relation to our equal pay cases in all of Scotland. If claims need to be amended, they will be, and if we have received the wrong advice we will take action to protect our members' position.

"In the meantime, if you are a GMB member and you have a case with Digby Brown, we will be happy to transfer it to a different firm if you are unhappy with the current placement. Please contact our GMB law firm - UnionLine - at pi@unionline.co.uk or call them on 0300 333 0303, If you would like us to relocate your case. UnionLine is a legal firm owned by the union and operates on a not for profit basis." 

Yet members have also been told that their equal pay claims had been amended and that a further tribunal hearing has been arranged for 30 November 2015.

In other words, confusion reigns which is why a independent complaints process should be created to level the playing field between big, powerful union bureaucracies and individual union members.

Just like the process that exists for solicitors and law firms in Scotland which allows unhappy customers to complain to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission.