Monday, 31 October 2016

North Lanarkshire Update



My colleague Stefan Cross QC drew my attention to this post on Twitter which reports on a trade union campaign in Durham in support of the county council's Classroom Assistants.

As regular readers know, the local unions have not exactly shown the same fighting spirit over equal pay in North Lanarkshire and were not, for example, party to the long-running Employment Tribunal case involving Classroom Assistants, Clerical Assistants and Sheltered Housing Wardens.

I wonder if any readers in North Lanarkshire have a view on what strikes me as a rather sorry state of affairs?

  



North Lanarkshire Update (20/05/16)



Here's another post on North Lanarkshire Council's job evaluation (JE) review which I wrote back in May 2015.

As regular readers know, this review seems to be in trouble because not only is the exercise running 6 months late, the whole project is shrouded in secrecy with the workforce being kept completely in the dark. 

Now the review is being 'led' by senior council management and the trade unions, but no one is clear as to which jobs are included in the review while others are left out.

Take school Clerical Assistants and Housing Support Wardens, for example, which Action 4 Equality Scotland has been battling over in the Employment Tribunals (ET) for the past year and more.

North Lanarkshire Council refused to accept that these female dominated jobs were on a par with traditional male jobs, but they comprehensively lost that argument in the Employment Tribunals so you would think that all of these posts would now be included in the late-running JE exercise.

Because the logic of the ET decision is that all of these posts have been incorrectly graded and not just those taken up by Action 4 Equality Scotland.

The same is true for Classroom Assistants for whom the fight continues because NLC stubbornly refuses to accept that the CA's job doesn't measure up to the work done by a council gardener - even though there is only one point of difference under NLC's widely criticised 2006/07 JE scheme.

So it's a bit of a shocker if you ask me and doesn't bode too well for the latest JE review which should have reported before the end of December 2015.



North Lanarkshire Update (23/05/15)


Lots of readers have been in touch to ask about the re-evaluation of various jobs in North Lanarkshire Council which has been prompted by the council being forced to concede at the Employment Tribunal that a number of female dominated jobs had not been assessed and graded correctly back in 2006/07.

As part of the equal pay settlement it was agreed by all the parties that the process of carrying out a further job evaluation would be down to the council and the trade unions.

Now that is quite sensible because while Action 4 Equality Scotland (A4ES) has led the fight for equal pay in North Lanarkshire all these years, the council (management and councillors) along with the unions make up the permanent collective bargaining structures in North Lanarkshire.

Part of the agreement is that A4ES will be kept fully informed about what's going on and how the council and the unions intend to tackle the problems that clearly exist within the present grading structure.

Apparently the unions have issued some limited information on the process which says that the following jobs will be subject to further evaluation:  
  • Playground Supervisors
  • School Crossing Patrollers
  • Home Support Workers
  • Road Sweepers
  • Refuse Collectors
  • Gardeners at grades 4 and 5
  • Chargehand Gardeners at grade 6
Now the list contains only the three female dominated jobs which were originally identified at the Employment Tribunal hearing.

Other employees such as Admin & Clerical Workers and Classroom Assistants, for example, may have a case to argue that their jobs and factor scores should be reviewed as well which could be done by bringing a group of such workers together to look in detail at the existing job description and individual factor scores.

Now this would also require a proper look at the male jobs to compare what scores these jobs have been awarded under all the different factor headings to ensure consistency and that jobs are not being treated in isolation.

As I've said before on the blog site what would help this process is maximum transparency and openness which could be achieved by putting all of this information on the Council's web site, for example, where everyone could see what is going on and have the opportunity to comment if they wish.

Over the coming weeks I'll do my best to answer people's questions and requests for information on the blog site, so watch this space.


North Lanarkshire Update (06/09/16)


I continue to receive lots of enquiries via email and Facebook about North Lanarkshire's job evaluation (JE) review - far too many for me to answer on an individual basis.

Now as regular readers know, the JE review was conducted by the Council and the trade unions and if I remember correctly, it was accepted that other jobs could be reviewed going forward.

In effect the baton was passed to the trade unions, but Action 4 Equality Scotland continued the fight on behalf of Sheltered Housing Wardens, Clerical Assistants and Classroom Assistants in the Glasgow Employment Tribunal (ET).

The A4ES clients involved in the ongoing Glasgow ET hearing eventually won the argument to have their JE scores and grades matched to higher paid male comparators which resulted in a much more favourable settlement of their equal pay claims.

But the tribunal outcome affects only the individual clients of A4ES and the three job categories involved were not included in the recent NLC job evaluation (JE) review, primarily because the ET hearing was still underway. 

My understanding of the JE review is that other NLC jobs can still be brought into the process, if a strong case could be made on behalf of particular groups - a test which must surely be satisfied as far as Sheltered Housing Wardens, Clerical Assistants and Classroom Assistants are concerned. 

So if I were a Sheltered Housing Warden, a Clerical Assistant or a Classroom Assistant I'd be asking asking the Council via my trade union when they are going to review the scores and grades of these three jobs - given that the ball is now well and truly in their court.

  


North Lanarkshire Update(01/09/16)



I've had lots of enquiries about backpay and the NLC job evaluation (JE) review which I have written about regularly on the blog site for the past year and more.

Here are two posts (one from May 2015 and the other from June 2016) which explain the background to the JE review and the fact that only a limited number of posts were covered by the review in the first place.

  


North Lanarkshire Update (23/05/15)


Lots of readers have been in touch to ask about the re-evaluation of various jobs in North Lanarkshire Council which has been prompted by the council being forced to concede at the Employment Tribunal that a number of female dominated jobs had not been assessed and graded correctly back in 2006/07.

As part of the equal pay settlement it was agreed by all the parties that the process of carrying out a further job evaluation would be down to the council and the trade unions.


Now that is quite sensible because while Action 4 Equality Scotland (A4ES) has led the fight for equal pay in North Lanarkshire all these years, the council (management and councillors) along with the unions make up the permanent collective bargaining structures in North Lanarkshire.


Part of the agreement is that A4ES will be kept fully informed about what's going on and how the council and the unions intend to tackle the problems that clearly exist within the present grading structure.


Apparently the unions have issued some limited information on the process which says that the following jobs will be subject to further evaluation:  

  • Playground Supervisors
  • School Crossing Patrollers
  • Home Support Workers
  • Road Sweepers
  • Refuse Collectors
  • Gardeners at grades 4 and 5
  • Chargehand Gardeners at grade 6
Now the list contains only the three female dominated jobs which were originally identified at the Employment Tribunal hearing.

Other employees such as Admin and Clerical Workers and Classroom Assistants, for example, may have a case to argue that their jobs and factor scores should be reviewed as well which could be done by bringing a group of such workers together to look in detail at the existing job description and individual factor scores.


Now this would also require a proper look at the male jobs to compare what scores these jobs have been awarded under all the different factor headings to ensure consistency and that jobs are not being treated in isolation.


As I've said before on the blog site what would help this process is maximum transparency and openness which could be achieved by putting all of this information on the Council's web site, for example, where everyone could see what is going on and have the opportunity to comment if they wish.


Over the coming weeks I'll do my best to answer people's questions and requests for information on the blog site, so watch this space.

  

NLC JE Review (12/06/16)


I submitted a freedom of information (FoI) request to North Lanarkshire Council on Friday (10 May) asking for details of the report to the Policy and Resources Committee on the Council's late-running job evaluation (JE) review.

But later that day a helpful contact from within the Council sent me a copy of the report and here is a summary of the main outcomes as far as JE is concerned.

Claimant Jobs

Home Support Workers - Existing Grade NLC 3, New Grade NLC 7

School Crossing Patrollers - Existing Grade NLC 2, New Grade NLC 3

Playground Supervisors - Existing Grade NLC 2, New Grade NLC 2 (no change)


Male Comparator Jobs

Road Sweeper - Existing Grade NLC 2, New Grade NLC 3

Refuse Collector - Existing Grade NLC 4, New Grade NLC 4

Gardener (4) - Existing Grade NLC 4, New Grade NLC 5

Gardener (5) - Existing Grade NLC 5, New Grade NLC 5

Chargehand Gardener - Existing Grade NLC 6, New Grade NLC 7


So two out of three claimant jobs have seen their grades increase (notably the Home Carers) and three out of five male comparator jobs and the new grades will be backdated to 1 April 2015.

However lots of predominantly female job groups have been left out of the JE review which will, I suspect, make many people very angry.

So the trade unions have a lot of explaining to do especially to fee-paying members who have been excluded from the review process.