Monday, 27 February 2017

Glasgow and Equal Pay



I had a really good meeting with a group of Home Carers in Newlands last week to discuss the ongoing fight for equal pay with Labour-run Glasgow City Council.

Here's a brief round-up of what was discussed on the day.

Glasgow's Pay Arrangements
The City Council has been promising for months to explain the pay arrangements that were put in place after the introduction of the WPBR (Workforce Pay and Benefits Review) in January 2007. 

So why are council officials digging their heels in and refusing to co-operate now? If you ask me, it's because they have something to hide about 'continuing' pay differences between male and female dominated jobs - which is exactly what happened in Labour-run North Lanarkshire Council, for example.


Male Comparator Jobs
A freedom of information (FoI) campaign is underway to get to the truth of the Council's pay arrangements from 2007 onwards. Another route is to enlist the help of workers in 'male comparator' jobs such as Refuse Workers, Road Workers, Gardeners and Gravediggers.

If you know someone who is (or was) employed in one of these job categories, ask them if they will have a confidential word with Mark Irvine. Because these male workers proved to be an invaluable source of information in both North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire Councils.  


SNP Clean-Up Call
The SNP opposition group with Glasgow City Council has made some promising public statements recently about the need for the Council to 'open the books' and be much more transparent about its pay arrangements over equal pay.

Now that's a good thing if you ask me, but I imagine people are keen to see these words strengthened into a firm commitment about treating the workforce fairly in relation to equal pay, after being 'bullied' and pushed around by the Labour-run City Council for years.  


May Council Elections
The local council elections on 4 May 2017 provide an opportunity to ring the changes over equal pay. The current Labour administration has been dragging its feet over the issue since  the summer of 2016 and council's senior officials appear to be running the show, rather than the elected councillors

If this is what's going on, then it is exactly what happened in Labour-run North Lanarkshire Council. The senior officials involved have all since left NLC's employment taking with them healthy retirement and/or 'leaving' packages.


Lobbying MSPs and MPs
A number of Home Carers at the meeting had already been in touch with local politicians, MSPs and MPs mostly. The names mentioned on the day were James Dornan, Stewart MacDonald, Nicola Sturgeon and Alison Thewliss.

I've since been in touch with James Dornan (MSP for Glasgow Cathcart) who has emphasised his support for equal pay. Some of the Home Carers present at last week's meeting intend to arrange their own meeting with Mr Dornan who is also a former councillor on Glasgow City Council. Let's hope all Glasgow MSPs and MPs get behind the campaign and show their practical support in the weeks ahead. 


Court of Session Hearing
One idea discussed at last week's Home Carers meeting was the possibility of organising a group of Glasgow claimants go along to the Court of Session hearing in Edinburgh which gets underway on 25 April 2017. 

The purpose of this day trip to Edinburgh would be to publicise what's going on in Glasgow on the eve of the local council elections and to embarrass the hell out of Frank McAveety and his fellow Labour councillors. No doubt this could be a 'fun' day out as well! So if you're interested in coming along, let me know.


More A4ES Glasgow meetings are in the process of being arranged all the time, so if you would like to hold one in your own local area, drop me a note once you've identified a suitable venue: markirvine@compuserve.com


  



Glasgow - Court of Session (30/01/17)



The Court of Session, Scotland's highest civil court, has set the following dates to deal with the outstanding equal pay claims against Glasgow City Council.  

  • 25th to 27th April 2017 - a three day hearing on the pay protection and assimilation period
  • 2nd to 5th May 2017 - four days focusing on the City Council's job evaluation scheme, also known locally as the WPBR (Workforce Pay and Benefits Review)
Now the timing could not be better if you ask me with the elections to Glasgow City Council taking place on Thursday 4th May 2017.

My message to the Labour leaders of Glasgow City Council is to come clean and explain the pay arrangements that were put in place after the introduction of its local jib evaluation scheme (WPBR) in 2006/07.

So if Frank McAveety and his colleagues don't have the political will to resolve then issue, then step aside and make way for those who do. 

  


Operation Take-Out Frank? (29/01/17)


I've had a great response to the recent post setting out my plans for a big equal pay campaign in the run up to the council elections in May 2017. 

Some of these activities are already in hand and will be reported on the blog site as things take shape in the days ahead.

But there has been surprisingly strong support for the idea of fielding an 'Equal Pay' candidate in the Glasgow Shettleston seat where the Council's Labour leader, Frank McAveety, is standing again.


Now that would really set the cat amongst the pigeons if you ask me, as I doubt very much that Councillor McAveety can muster a credible defence to Glasgow's behaviour in relation to equal pay over the years.


As regular readers know, thousands of low paid City Council workers were 'bullied' and intimidated into accepting poor offers of settlement in the run-up to Christmas 2005 although those who threw their lot in with A4ES received a much better deal, of course.


So 'once bitten, twice shy' as they say and even though Frank was an MSP in the Scottish Parliament at the time, the responsibility for sorting things out lies with the Labour-run City Council which Councillor McAveety currently leads.  


A number of readers have asked if I would consider standing against Councillor McAveety, given my knowledge of the City Council and the long fight for equal pay. 


Now that's an intriguing proposition, but we have a long way to go because I'm told that  the relevant papers do not have to be registered until the end of March 2017. 


But who knows, maybe I will throw down the gauntlet in Shettleston and challenge Frank McAveety in his own back yard.


Maybe it's time for Operation Take-Out Frank?



  


Glasgow and Equal Pay (06/01/17)


Readers in Glasgow are in touch regularly to ask what kind of equal pay campaign will get underway in the weeks ahead.

Well that's something I will give detailed thought to over the festive season, but here is a 'starter for ten' as the say ion University Challenge:

  • Issue a detailed public statement explaining the basis of the dispute
  • Highlight Glasgow's position as the only major council in Scotland not to have reached agreement with A4ES over its post-job evaluation pay arrangements.
  • Arrange to brief the Leader of the Opposition Group on Glasgow City Council and individual councillors who may have been kept in the dark by the current council leadership.
  • Arrange to brief all MSPs and MPs within the boundaries of Glasgow City Council who are all SNP politicians 
  • Organise a series of local meetings across the city to encourage the 5,500 A4ES clients in Glasgow to get involved in the campaign
  • Assist equal pay claimants in Glasgow to get their message across by lobbying local councillors, Holyrood MSPs and Westminster MPs
  • Organise case studies for the local media including The Herald, Evening Times, Daily Record etc
  • Organise a major advertising campaign across Glasgow in the run-up to the May 2017 council elections
  • Consider standing an 'Equal Pay' candidate in one or more key Glasgow constituencies
  • Seek a meeting with Nicola Sturgeon (First Minister) as a Glasgow MSP to discuss how she and the SNP Government can help hold Glasgow to account
If readers have any ideas or suggestions to make, then fire away by dropping me a line at: markirvine@compuserve.com markirvine@compuserve.com 

Remember, 'many hands make light work' and the more people who get involved in the campaign the sooner this will all be over.