Saturday, 17 December 2016

Glasgow and Equal Pay

The Scotsman takes the Queensferry Crossing 'low pay' dispute one step further with news that the Scottish Government has become involved via its transport minister Keith Brown.  

Now as I said the other day I only wish Labour MSPs had taken such a keen interest in the fight for equal pay which has been raging in Scottish local government for the past 12 years.

Nonetheless it's good to see Scottish ministers and politicians taking these issues seriously instead standing on the sidelines or pretending it's nothing to to with them.

In the Glasgow equal pay dispute many more workers are involved, 5,500 from Action 4 Equality Scotland alone, so I think we can expect to see some real fireworks from Glasgow's MSPs and MPs in the New Year.

Queensferry Crossing low pay probe moves forward
A view of the gap between the north and south sections of the Queensferry Crossing. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
A view of the gap between the north and south sections of the Queensferry Crossing. Picture: Jane Barlow

Economy Secretary Keith Brown will ask an arbitration service to work with the lead contractor building the Queensferry Crossing, Transport Scotland and a construction union to investigate allegations of low pay on the £1.4 billion project. 

Mr Brown met representatives from construction union UCATT and Labour MSP Neil Findlay at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday. Labour has called for a pay audit of the scheme after UCATT claimed Portuguese sub-contractor Sosia Ltd paid joiners £7.67 an hour and labourers £6.32 an hour - compared with the Construction Joint Industry Council agreement of minimum rates of £11.61 and £8.73 respectively. 

Mr Brown said: “It remains the responsibility of our contractor FCBC to manage matters relating to its workforce and sub-contractors. The Scottish Government will continue to work together with all parties to ensure that all obligations over workers’ rights, health and safety and pay are being met on the Forth Replacement Crossing project.”

Glasgow and Equal Pay (15/12/16)

I was interested in this piece from The Herald newspaper which reports that a Labour MSP (Neil Findlay) has called for an "urgent independent pay audit" on behalf of the workers employed on the new Queensferry Crossing across the River Forth.

Two points struck me as I read The Herald article:

1 Why didn't Labour MSPs show the same enthusiasm for independent pay audits during the long fight for equal pay?

2 If it's so easy for an individual MSP to get a quick and positive response from the Scottish Government , surely MSPs in Glasgow will be queuing up to support the A4ES campaign to hold Glasgow City Council to account over its  post-job evaluation pay arrangements? 

If claimants in Glasgow get behind this campaign (the trade unions are welcome to join in as well), I am confident we can make equal pay and the City Council's pay arrangements a big issue in the run-unto the local council elections in May 2017.


MSP calls for Queensferry Crossing probe as workers' pay and safety questioned

Jane Barlow/PA Wire

By Brian Donnelly - The Herald

AN MSP has called for an investigation into claims workers on the Queensferry Cressing have been paid below industry rates and are working amid health and safety breaches.

Lothian Labour MSP Neil Findlay has called for an "urgent independent pay audit of the workers engaged on the project", raising concerns about a Portugese sub-contractor and also pay rates for tradesmen it is claimed are £4 an hour below industry minimum.

He is to meet with Scottish Economy Secretary Keith Brown along with officials from construction union UCATT on Thursday and a Scottish Government spokesman said the audit would be one of the issues discussed at the meeting.