Friday, 10 February 2017

Weasel Words from Glasgow



A kind reader has shared a response she received from Glasgow City Council after writing to its Labour leader, Councillor Frank McAveety.

Now Frank's been around the track once or twice so he must surely be embarrassed by the 'weasel words' which have been written on his behalf.

For a start, Glasgow City Council is now the only council in Scotland not to have dealt with the so-called protection and pay assimilation period which followed the Workforce Pay and Benefits Review in 2007. 

Neighbouring councils in North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire both recently resolved this issue, so there is no 'best use of public funds' or 'wider community interest' at stake here. 

Which means that Glasgow is on the hook just like other councils, except Glasgow is 10 years late after refusing to deal with the issue at the time, i.e. back in 2007.

So there is no dispute about whether or not a further 2nd Wave payment is required, the only issues are how much and over which time period?

A4ES says the pay of the women's jobs should have been levelled up to the same as the men before the WPBR came into force in 2007 - in which case the women are entitled to the same level of pay protection as the men.

Not just that, of course, since the WPBR has not been given a clean bill of health and Glasgow's local job evaluation scheme (the City Council refused to use the nationally approved scheme) forms part of the appeal to the Court of Session.

The other glaring point Frank fails to mention is that thousands of low paid workers in Glasgow were made very poor offers of settlement in the run-up to Christmas 2005.

Everyone caught up in that exercise (not the A4ES claimants) feel cheated and angry at the way they were treated - here's an extract from a recent post from the blog site (from 1 Feb) which explains the background and why people are so determined that they 'won't be fooled again'.

Council 'buy-outs' - Christmas 2005
  • Lots of people are understandably still very angry at being pressurised into accepting very poor offers of settlement in the run-up to Christmas 2005. In plain language people felt they were bullied and intimidated into accepting these offers which were capped at a maximum of only £9,000 - because they were frightened into believing that they would probably lose everything, if they continued with their claims to the Employment Tribunals.
The role of the trade unions
  • The trade unions in Glasgow had agreed the £9,000 cap with the City Council and were left looking foolish when far higher settlements were achieved by Action 4 Equality Scotland. As a result, the trade unions in Glasgow (and elsewhere) lost credibility with their own members after siding with management and the employers over equal pay, which is why the vast majority of claimants in Glasgow (around 6,000) are now with A4ES.
As I said on the blog site recently, this may not have been down to Frank as he was an MSP in the Scottish Parliament in 2005, but the reality is that the buck stops with him now as Leader of the Council in 2017.

The Council's response also says that both sides are 'talking' which is technically correct although Glasgow is dragging its feet quite shamelessly. 

For example, at the last meeting with A4ES on 19 January 2017 the Council claimed they were unable to provide pay information because of ongoing industrial action in their IT section.

Embarrassingly, the industrial action ended that same day (19 Jan) which the Council clearly knew at the time, but still used this as a ridiculous excuse for not providing information which they had been promising to release for months.   

So if you ask me, it seems as if we are dealing with some cynical people who use weasel words when what's needed is some straight talking and a commitment to get the job done.


  



Cllr McAveety thanks you for your recent enquiry and has asked me to respond on his behalf.

A number of colleagues have written in about equal pay and have been asking when the Council will settle. In fact the Council settled equal pay in 2006. Unlike a good many other Councils all of these cases are now settled and the Council has had a pay and grading system in place that ensures equal treatment. This system has been tested twice in Court and has been approved each time.

The Council did not have a robust system of equal pay in place before 2006. It settled, quite rightly, those claims and put in place a robust system that made sure that this could not happen again. What is currently at issue is whether the Council should have put in place 3 years pay protection in 2006 for those whose income was due to fall. One Court supported this while another did not.    

Both sides have appealed but they are also talking to each other. This is a complex issue and because public funds are at stake the Council does need to act in the best interest of the entire community. I hope, however, that before too long one of the first Councils to resolve the source issue will be able to resolve this final point.

I hope that this answers your enquiry.

Yours sincerely,

Robert   



Robert Anderson
Head of Human Resources
Corporate Services
Glasgow City Council
Room G.20
40 John Street

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



A number of readers from Shettleston have been in touch to ask how they can assist in Operation Take-Out Frank.

Well the first step is to organise a local meeting in Shettleston to test the level of support for standing an independent candidate to run against the Council leader in his own back yard.

I've been to lots of meetings in this particular part of Glasgow in my time including a very memorable one at the Barn Club, if the place still exists.

So go to it Glasgow! I'm happy to come along and explain what's at stake (financially and otherwise) in the fight for equal pay with the Labour-run City Council.

But folks on the ground need to do their bit as well.


  



Operation Take-Out Frank? (26/01/17)


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?