Thursday, 13 April 2017

Glasgow's MSPs and MPs

I have written to all constituency MSPs and MPs in Glasgow about the fight for equal pay with the Labour-run City Council.

I won't publish every single letter because they are essentially all the same, but here's the one I sent to Nicola Sturgeon - Scotland's First Minister and MSP for Glasgow Southside.

I also re-publishing a list of email addresses for MSPs and MPs in the Glasgow area whom readers may wish to contact directly under their own steam. 


Dear Nicola

Glasgow City Council and Equal Pay 
I am contacting every constituency MSP and MP in Glasgow to ask for their comments on the long-running equal pay dispute with Glasgow City Council.

I plan to publish these comments on my blog in the run-up to the local council elections on 4 May 2017 - the site can be found at:

The leader of the SNP Group at Glasgow City Council, Cllr Susan Aitken, has already written an article for my blog and I enclose a copy of what Cllr Aitken had to say, for your information.

I extended the same invitation to the leader of the Labour Group at the City Council, Cllr Frank McAveety, but sadly Frank failed to respond and seems unwilling or unable to defend the track record of his administration which has been dragging its feet on this issue for years. 

I am sure you will be interested to learn that Glasgow is now the only remaining council in Scotland not to have reached a settlement in respect of its post-job evaluation pay arrangements.    
As you probably know from my previous emails, Action 4 Equality Scotland represents 6,000 equal pay claimants in Glasgow and my blog site currently attracts around 20,000 visitors every week. 

I look forward to hearing from you and if you require any further information before responding, please drop me a note at:

Kind regards

Mark Irvine

Glasgow and Equal Pay (28/03/17)

As regular readers know, I contacted the leaders of the SNP and Labour Groups at Glasgow City Council recently and asked Cllr Susan Aitken and Cllr Frank McAveety to set out their respective stalls over equal pay.

Cllr Aitken responded to my email straight away and said she would be delighted to write a piece for the blog site whereas I'm still waiting to hear anything, even an acknowledgement, from Frank McAveety.  

So here's what the Leader of the SNP Opposition Group at Glasgow City Council has to say about the long fight for equal pay which if you ask me, is a real breath of fresh air compared to the foot-dragging antics of the current Labour administration whose own leader has nothing to say.


Glasgow and Equal Pay

"The issue of equal pay for women working for Glasgow City Council has been a stain on the reputation of the city for years. The handling of the issue by Glasgow City Council has been disgraceful, with thousands of employees – mostly women in lower paid posts – waiting over ten years for a resolution to their case.

"SNP Councillors in Glasgow have maintained a close watching brief on progress, through senior officer briefings, union updates and representations by staff directly. We are united in our belief that the Council must reach a satisfactory resolution to this dispute, as quickly as possible, and we are aware of the upcoming cases at the Court of Session in late April and early May.

"This situation has gone on long enough. Should the SNP form a City Government for Glasgow on the 4th of May, we will take steps to resolve this dispute and to introduce a range of measures to improve working relations between the Council and those who work so hard providing services for Glaswegians every single day.

"We will work with trade unions, and others representing women who were victims of discriminatory pay policies, with the aim of resolving and settling all outstanding equal pay claims within this Council term. We will also create a workforce and Staff Governance Board, comprising trade unions, cross-party elected representatives and senior officers.

"We will appoint a political lead for Workforce and Staff Governance, who will be charged with ensuring that our manifesto pledges relating to staff are implemented across the Council family and that the principles of partnership working are embedded in our relationships with trade unions. We will also ensure that the Public Sector Equality Duty is fully adhered to in all of the Council’s dealings with our employees.

"To ensure that such situations don’t arise in future, we will undertake a review of Human Resources policies and procedures across the Council family, to ensure that they reflect and respond to our commitments to partnership working and fair treatment. We will also trade union representation on the board of each remaining ALEO. 

"We are committed to no compulsory redundancies and the principles of collective bargaining and negotiation. All Council family staff should expect to be paid the Scottish Living Wage. And we will use new Scottish Government procurement legislation to ensure that, wherever possible, businesses and organisations who carry out work on behalf of the Council adhere to fair work practices and decent pay.

"An SNP City Government for Glasgow will refuse to implement the UK government’s current trade union bill or future attempts to diminish workers’ and trade union rights. And we are determined to retain our staff within the Council family, not transferred or outsourced to private corporations where terms and conditions may be at risk.

"But as we refuse to do the work of Westminster Tories, we will regularly and sincerely consult with staff on the impact to their working lives of wider changes of policy and ways of working within the Council, and actively seeking and listening to staff’s ideas about how to improve frontline service delivery. As the experts on delivery of services, we will also listen to and reward staff who suggest better and more effective ways of working.

"Our vision for our workforce is positive. Our determination to right long-standing wrongs is strong. We look forward to the legal arguments being heard next month and for the opportunity to work with our workforce to make working for the Council is rewarding and valued, and that staff feel valued in turn."

Councillor Susan Aitken

Leader of the Opposition 
SNP councillor for Langside ward

Glasgow MSPs and MPs (21/03/17)

I tweeted a copy of yesterday's post about the fight for equal pay with Labour-run Glasgow City Council to all Glasgow MSPs and MPs - 15 in total all of whom support the SNP. 

In my tweet I asked the following question:

"How is it possible that Glasgow's Home Carers are worth thousands of pounds a year less than a Council Gravedigger?"

So let's see what Glasgow's politicians have to say in support of their constituents because a quick look at their Twitter feed shows that that have plenty to say on lots of other important subjects.  

In which case getting behind the fight for equal pay in Glasgow ought to be a real 'doddle'.


Glasgow MSPs and MPs (10/02/17)

I've had lots of emails from readers in Glasgow asking how they can help to hold the City Council to account in the fight for equal pay.

Well one of the most effective things people can do is to contact their local MSP or MP and ask for their support.

I wrote to all Glasgow MSPs and MPs just the other day, so they are bang up to date with all the latest developments and Glasgow's local politicians have plenty to say at the moment.

For example, on the Council Tax and local council budgets, to the closure of job centres or the impact of a higher retirement age for women (also known as the WASPI campaign).

So the fight for equal pay which affects thousands of low paid women across Glasgow ought to be right up their street and I think it would be perfectly reasonable to ask local MSPs and MPs:
  1. What are MSPs and MPs doing and saying publicly to support their local constituents in the fight for equal pay with Glasgow City Council?
  2. Do MSPs and MPs support the demand that Glasgow City Council ought to 'open the books' and explain the pay arrangements that were put in place following the WPBR in 2006/07?
Now that would do for starters and as MSPs and MPs are adept at getting the press and media involved, this will obviously help turn the heat up on Glasgow City Council in the run-up to the local council elections on 4 May 2017.

More to follow soon, but in the meantime here's a handy list of names and email addresses.

Keep me posted and I'll share what people have to say on the blog site (without mentioning any personal details, of course).

Remember, many hands make light work - so go to it, get your arse in gear Glasgow!

Glasgow MSPs (Scottish Parliament)

Glasgow MPs (Westminster Parliament)


Glasgow's Home Carers (20/03/17)

I attended an excellent meeting of Glasgow Home Carers in Govanhill last Friday to discuss the ongoing campaign to hold Glasgow City Council to account over equal pay.

All of the usual topics were covered including:
  • the importance of claimants contacting their MSPs and MPs for support
  • the use of freedom of information (FoI) requests to uncover the City Council's post-WPBR pay arrangements
  • the forthcoming appeal hearing at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on 25 to 27 April and  2 to 5 May 2017
  • the level of bonus payments in male dominated jobs and the guarantee given by the City Council that these earnings would be maintained (in response to a strike threat by the trade unions)
As I write this post I'm looking at the earnings of a City Council Gravedigger in 2007 - a post which was on Grade MW3 before the WPBR and two grades below Home Carers who were on MW5.

The pay information has been provided to me in response to an FoI request and shows the earnings of the Gravedigger as £22,845.40 (excluding overtime) in 2007 - £11,986 in basic salary and £10,859.40 in 'additional payments' the bulk of which I suspect had to be earned via bonus payments.

Now take nothing away from the council Gravedigger because they work hard and do an essential jobs like lots of other council staff, but how can it be that Home Carers (on the much higher grade of MW5) are not worth at least the same pay?

Shift working can't account for the pay difference because Home Carers in Glasgow typically work a 'split shift' which means they work for 5 hours (8am to 1pm) and have an unpaid break for three hours before returning to complete another 5 hour shift later in the day (4pm to 10pm).

Split shift working is the most onerous of all shift stems if you ask me, because unlike other workers the whole day revolves around your job and people are not really done with their work until late in the evening.

Yet for this huge inconvenience to their lives Home Carers are worth thousands of pounds less than a council Gravedigger which sounds very unfair to me.  

Another meeting in Govanhill is planned for next Monday and some of the local politicians will be present which is good news if you ask me, because so far I haven't witnessed too many Glasgow MSPs and MPs speaking out in support of the fight for equal pay with the Labour-led City Council.