Tuesday, 24 November 2015

NLC Update (30/04/15)

Here's what I said on the blog site back in February about equal pay being a peculiar version of the old 'snakes and ladders' board game, except that the women's jobs all seem to have landed on a snake while the men's jobs all enjoyed much better 'luck' 

Funny that.

Especially when you consider the fact that this happened in North as well as South Lanarkshire, both large Labour-run councils of course, which are near neighbours sitting on opposite sides of the M74.

I wonder if that's a coincidence or if it helps to explain why Scottish Labour is getting such a  terrible kicking in the opinion polls?

Anyway, tomorrow is 1st May and the general election is only a week away, so I plan to publish my very own 'manifesto' in 24 hours which will set out my proposals and for carrying out a further re-evaluation of various council jobs in North Lanarkshire.

As regular readers know, this has to be done because of concessions made previously by North Lanarkshire at the Employment Tribunal to the effect that the gradings and evaluation of various jobs, for example Home Carers, were unsatisfactory and not to be relied upon. 

North Lanarkshire Update (12/02/15)

Here's a previous post from the blog site which is about South Lanarkshire Council, but could just as easily been written with North Lanarkshire in mind.

Because the rank order 'test' is the best and easiest way of demonstrating whether a job evaluation exercise (JES) and the new pay arrangements which flow from a JES pass the test of common sense.  

The point of the exercise is simple: at the end of the JES process and before any new proposals are implemented where do all the various jobs sit in relation to each other?

If all the lower paid women's jobs remain stuck at the bottom of the pay ladder relative to the male jobs, where they were before, then there is clearly a major problem.

Especially since a key aim of Scotland's 1999 Single Status (Equal Pay) Agreement was to end the widespread pay discrimination against predominantly female jobs - home carers and other carers, classroom assistants, catering workers, cleaners and wide variety of clerical roles. 

So, as I said yesterday, given that this 'before' and 'after' rank order was a key requirement of the Council's Equality Impact Assessment (requested by the unions), then where is the NLC report-back explaining that virtually nothing had changed as far as the Council's traditional male jobs were concerned?

In other words, how did all the women happen to land on a 'snake' when all the men happily found themselves on a 'ladder'.

Here is the relevant paragraph again from Iris Wylie's letter to Unison (see post dated 9 February 2015) and if you ask me, this could well be the key to unlocking and nailing the whole case.  
  • identify predominantly male or predominantly female jobs in the existing grading structure and confirm how they move within the new evaluated rank order of jobs i.e. upwards or downwards
Because there's no way that having identified this rank order test as a key part of the Equality Impact Assessment that the Council was not fully aware of what it was doing in  deciding to press ahead with new pay arrangements which favoured traditional male jobs.

Which is one of the reasons I think that going back to the Employment Tribunal is no bad thing because it seems to me that the Council is on a hiding to nothing. 

Rank Stupidity (12 July 2012) 

A number of readers from South Lanarkshire have been in touch to ask - whether the council and the trade unions could have avoided the current mess they've got into over equal pay.

Now I would say the answer to that question - is a definite YES.

Because the obvious thing to have done - and anyone could have told you this at the time (back in 2004) - is to construct what is called a 'rank order of jobs'.

Both before and after job evaluation process was carried out - for comparative purposes - which is what equal pay is all about - comparing the actual pay outcomes between male and female jobs.

A 'rank order of jobs' is a basic but vital tool for anyone dealing with a job evaluation scheme (JES) - because it demonstrates very quickly and very vividly what the 'before' and 'after' effect of the JES on people's pay and grading.

If you like it's like one of those fast-track books you see in the shops - except it should be given the title 'Equal Pay for Dummies'.

So given that the whole purpose of the 1999 Single Status (Equal Pay) Agreement in Scotland - was to address the perceived pay inequalities faced by many female dominated jobs.

You would have thought that even the village idiot would have understood the importance of using a 'rank order of jobs' - to assess what was actually going in terms of pay outcomes for the male and female jobs.

Instead we have ridiculous excuses that they didn't compare across the workforce - to see what was happening to different groups of male and female workers.

Or if they did, they didn't like what they saw and decided not to share the information with the workforce - a complete cop out if I've ever heard one.

The point is that if all that happened is that female dominated jobs within the council stayed firmly rooted at the bottom of the pay ladder - then in truth the existing pay hierarchy within the council was being preserved.

Yet by the simple task of constructing a 'before and after' rank order of jobs - this would have stood out like a sore thumb - for everyone to see including all the women workers who would have realised that nothing had changed.

So if you ask me, I say the whole affair is a complete disgrace - which is why South Lanarkshire Council and the trade unions have a great deal to answer for in 2012.

Because equal pay is not rocket science and comes down to only two things at the end of the day - political will and commons sense.