Friday, 20 November 2015

NLC Update (21/09/15)

The Employment Tribunal in Glasgow has been dealing with some outstanding equal pay claims from Housing Wardens, Clerical Assistants and Classroom Assistants - cases where North Lanarkshire Council does not accept that these jobs are of equal value to their chosen male comparators, a Refuse Collector and Gardener 2. 

Now I know that readers will be amazed, angry even, to learn that the Council regards these three highly responsible female dominated jobs to be worth so much less than the two traditional, relatively unskilled male jobs - makes no sense whatsoever, if you ask me. 

The tribunal has now finished taking evidence and the hearing finally ended on Friday  18 September; a written decision will be issued in due course, but this could take several weeks. 

NLC Update (20/08/15)

Regular readers will be aware that an Employment Tribunal hearing involving North Lanarkshire Council took place earlier this week on the 17 and 18 of August 2015.

Unfortunately, at the start of proceedings, one of the tribunal members fell ill and although a  replacement member was found a significant amount of time was lost on the first day.

The end result is that the hearing was adjourned until 17 September 2015 for all of the outstanding issues to be brought to a conclusion. 

Daphne Romney QC represented the interests of Action 4 Equality Scotland clients and will be at the reconvened hearing in September which all claimants are entitled to attend, of course.

NLC Update (06/07/15)

I was not able to attend Friday's reconvened Employment Tribunal hearing which considered the outstanding Equal Value claims against North Lanarkshire Council.

Daphne Romney QC, a leading UK barrister represented the A4ES clients involved in this case.

North Lanarkshire is still disputing the male comparators claimed by A4ES clients which are detailed in a previous post to the blog site dated 27 May 2015.

The Council's position is that the work done by the female jobs which cover Sheltered Housing Wardens, Clerical Assistants and Classroom Assistants are not of equal value to the jobs done by the male workers grades which are Refuse Collectors and Gardeners.

In the case of Classroom Assistants the difference is only 1 single point with the NLC Gardener grade used as a comparator, yet still the Council refuses to accept that the jobs concerned are of equal value, despite the fact that the NLC job evaluation scheme (JES) has been heavily criticised previously at the ongoing Employment Tribunal.

In fact the all too obvious failings with the JES led forced North Lanarkshire Council to accept that the female dominated jobs of Home Support Workers, Playground Supervisors and School Crossing Patrollers had all been incorrectly graded.

So the upshot is that the Employment Tribunal has been continued to the 17th and 18th of August 2015 where these outstanding issues will considered again in detail by the Employment Tribunal.     

I imagine that the women workers involved must feel deeply insulted by the Council's behaviour and its stubborn insistence that Sheltered Housing Wardens and Clerical Assistants are not of Equal Value to a Refuse Collector and that a Classroom Assistant's job  is not worth the same as a Council Gardener.

NLC Update (27/05/15)

Equal Value (EV) claimants in North Lanarkshire have been waiting for several years on a fair resolution of their 1st Wave equal play claims which cover the period prior to January 2007, i.e. before the introduction of NLC's new job evaluation scheme (JES).

A giant step forward was taken at a remedies hearing in Glasgow yesterday (26 May) when the Employment Tribunal issued an order requiring North Lanarkshire Council to pay the claimants an award worth over £6 million in total.

One outstanding issue is the male comparators which can been used to determine the level of compensation payable to certain of the female jobs. 

The equal value jobs and male comparators that are in dispute are as follows:

Housing Warden - Refuse Collector
Clerical Assistant - Refuse Collector
Classroom Assistant - Gardener (Grade 2)  

The reason these male comparators have been used during the tribunal proceedings is that they are on the same grades as Housing Warden, Clerical Assistant and Classroom Assistant using the JES introduced by North Lanarkshire Council in 2007.

But while the grades are the same in each case the actual number of points awarded by the JES are very slightly lower, in the case of Housing Wardens by 3 points and Classroom Assistants by only 1 point.

So the Council is arguing that this marginal 'points gap' means that the women's jobs are not of 'equal value' to the male jobs and so they have to rely on a lower paid comparator, thus reducing the value of their compensation in some cases.

In effect, the Council is saying is that the job of a Housing Warden or a Clerical Assistant is not 'worth' as much as a Refuse Collector - and that the job of a Classroom Assistant is not on a par with an unskilled Gardener (2).

Now I have nothing against Refuse Collectors or Road Sweepers, but I would beg to differ on this point.

What this all boils down to is that the claimants will 'bank' what is on offer just now using the lower comparator because this is of real financial significance for the people involved.

But the fight will continue to achieve a better comparator (and better outcome) for the Housing Wardens, Clerical Assistants and Classroom Assistants.

In fact, a further hearing has already been set to debate these issues on 2 July 2015 which will try to resolve the question of whether the higher male comparators can and should be used for each of the three female jobs. If  this doesn't happen there may need to be further to be further proceedings on behalf of these groups.  

Fox and Partners Solicitors will be issuing further advice and detailed information to A4ES clients in due course, both individually and via their web site.

I will update the blog site as soon as there is any further news.