Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Glasgow's Pay Arrangements

A number of readers have written to the leader of Glasgow City Council, Cllr Frank McAveety, about the long running equal pay dispute.

Interestingly, a response has been issued on behalf of the council leader by Cllr Martin Rhodes who is the executive member for personnel.

-------- Original message --------
From: "Rhodes, Martin (Councillor)" <

Subject: Equal Pay Claim 

Thank you for writing to the Leader of the Council about Equal Pay. A number of colleagues have written in similar terms and it is an issue that the Council recognises as being very important. The Leader of the Council has asked me as the Executive Member for Personnel to respond.

I would like to set out some background to the issue. In 2006, the Council settled its Equal Pay claims. The Council recognised the historic pay inequality that existed before then, and settled the claims of over 10,000 employees, mostly lower paid women, paying out compensation totalling £82m. 

A Pay and Grading system was then put in place with Equal Pay at its very heart. This was what we refer to as the Workforce Pay and Benefits Review, a modern, coherent pay system free from discrimination. This is a system that has been tested twice through a legal process and each time has been found to be free from discrimination on grounds of gender.

Introducing this system added £57m to the Council payroll and this was necessary as the Council recognised its obligation to pay free from discrimination. Despite the budget pressures, the Council worked extremely hard to compensate those who had been discriminated against and put in place a fair system of pay to ensure that pay discrimination could never again happen.

When the Council implemented the new pay system most employees saw an increase in their earnings but a smaller number faced a reduction. A decision was taken to protect those employees’ earnings for a period of 3 years. This is a separate issue and the question is whether the Council was right to have put that 3 year pay protection in place. This is subject of an on-going appeal but the Council will do what it can to resolve this issue. Of course this needs all the parties to be involved and be equally committed to finding a reasonable solution. I'm glad, therefore, that the Council and the legal representatives of the claimants are in the process of exchanging information and I hope that they will find a way to reach an agreement that is in everyone's best interests.

I hope that you find this information useful.

Kind regards

Councillor Martin Rhodes
Maryhill Kelvin Ward
Scottish Labour
Executive Member for Personnel

Glasgow City Council
City Chambers
George Square
Glasgow G2 1DU

Now there are a few problems with Cllr Rhodes' response which can be summarised as follows:
  • The City Council has been dragging its feet over the provision of pay information for several months.
  • Senior officials could provide this information in a heartbeat if they wanted to co-operate because the data is all computerised and easily extracted from the Council's payroll. 
  • But as of March 2017 the claimants' representatives are still waiting for a proper explanation of the pay arrangements the Council put in place for its male workers.
  • Settlement discussions with the Council are not underway, as Cllr Rhodes implies.
  • So it is complete nonsense to talk about "finding a reasonable solution" or reaching "an agreement" if serious negotiations with the City Council are not taking place
  • The claimants' representatives have never complained about 'protection' - what people wish to know is how the protection system operated and why the City Council's women workers were treated in a fundamentally different way to the men
So if other readers get a response like this from Cllr Rhodes or anyone else for that matter, don't be fobbed off with such ill-informed rubbish - write back and challenge what the Council is saying.