Monday, 15 May 2017

Glasgow's Pay Arrangements

Glasgow City Council responded quickly after I submitted an FoI Review Request in connection with so-called 'recruitment and retention' payments to the City Council's Gravediggers.

And what do you know?

Council officials now admit that this male, former bonus earning group were indeed awarded special payments for years after the introduction of the WPBR - to ensure that their former earnings were maintained at 2006/07 levels. 

According to the council these payments (to an all male group) were worth up to £350 per month or £4,200 a year and lasted until 2011 when the Gravediggers were placed on a new, higher and permanent grade.

Now as I said in a previous post the very same claim for 'special treatment' could be made by other groups of worker such as Home Carers, for example.

So what could possibly justify the women workers receiving much less favourable treatment than their male colleagues?


Glasgow's Pay Arrangements (09/05/17)

Glasgow City Council failed to respond to my FoI request within the time limits laid down by the Freedom of Information Scotland Act (FOISA) 2002

So I had to send the council's chief executive a further Review Request regarding so-called  'recruitment and retention' payments and the special treatment which appears to have been given to former bonus earning staff.

Seems like Glasgow still has a way to go in its quest for 'openness and transparency' in the City Council's pay arrangements.


6 May 2017
Annemarie O'Donnell
Chief Executive
Glasgow City Council

Dear Ms O'Donnell

FOISA Review Request

I refer to my letter dated 31 March 2017.

In view of the City Council's failure to respond within the 20 day time limit laid down by FOISA 2002, I would now like to submit a formal Review Request.  

I look forward to your reply and would be grateful if you could respond to me by e-mail at:

Kind regards

Mark Irvine 

Mobile - 07947 795222

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Irvine <>
To: annemarie.odonnell <>; foi <>
Sent: Fri, Mar 31, 2017 9:15 am
Subject: FOI Request

31 March 2017
Annemarie O'Donnell
Chief Executive
Glasgow City Council

Dear Ms O'Donnell

FOISA Request
I would like to make the following request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. 
Please provide me with anonymised pay information regarding all Recruitment and Retention payments made to City Council staff under the Workforce Pay and Benefits Review from 2006 onwards.

In doing so, please detail:
  1. the job categories involved
  2. the numbers of staff involved (in each job category)
  3. the level of payments involved (in each job and job category)
  4. the gender breakdown of staff involved (in each job category)
  5. the overall cost of R&R payments to Glasgow City Council each year 
I look forward to your reply and would be grateful if you could respond to me by e-mail at:

Kind regards

Mark Irvine 

Glasgow's Pay Arrangements (03/05/17)

A contact in Glasgow City Council (GCC) has passed on a really interesting letter regarding the Council's Employee Development Commitment (EDC) which gave a guarantee to maintain the earning of male dominated, former bonus earning jobs after the introduction of the Workforce Pay and Benefits Review in 2006/07.

The letter is from GCC's Director of Land Services to the Head of Corporate Human Resources (at the time Robert Booth and Norma Aird) and is dated October 2006.

Here's what the letter said:

Gravediggers's Recruitment and Retention

"Authorisation is sought herewith for the application of recruitment and retention payment under the Workforce Pay and Benefits package in respect of the Council's gravediggers.

"You will appreciate the sensitive nature of this aspect of service deliver and I have previously indicated the mood of the workforce which casts serious doubt on the prospects of retention for this group of staff. Loss of this experienced resource would eradicate the Councils capacity to maintain service. The resultant adverse publicity and the prospect of public concern in relation to burials must be remedied.

"Accordingly, I should be pleased if you would give consideration to the inclusion of a long term recruitment and retention payment for the employees."

Now this is wrong on all kinds of levels if you ask me, because even before the WPBR has been introduced a senior council official is requesting 'long term recruitment and retention payment' for just one group of staff - a  high earning, traditional male group earning big bonuses .

The reason seems to be the possibility of losing staff, but of course the very same argument could be made just as easily on behalf of many other female dominated groups providing essential services as well such as Home Carers, for example. 

And this would also help to explain the strange movement in Gravediggers pay which I shared on the blog site recently.

Always remembering that Home Carers were on a much higher grade than Gravediggers (MW 5 to MW3) before the introduction of the WPBR and on the same Grade 3 level after the new WPBR pay arrangements came into play in 2006/07.

Which begs the obvious question: "What could possibly justify the women workers receiving much less favourable treatment than their male colleagues?"


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.


Glasgow and Equal Pay (27/03/17)

As regular readers know, I submitted a series of FoI requests to Glasgow City Council back in February 2017 and after a bit of a tussle I finally got a reply which made for very interesting reading.

So here's an extract from the information the City Council supplied which shows the pay of a Gravedigger between 2005 and 2010, i.e. before and after the period during which Glasgow introduced a new local job evaluation (JE) scheme known as the Workforce Pay and Benefits Review)

Now going into the WPBR it's worth pointing out that a Home Carer, for example, was on a much higher grade (MW5 in 'old money') than a council Gravedigger who was two grades lower on MW3.

Glasgow City Council Gravedigger (MW3)


£ 21,910.97  (annual earnings excluding overtime)
£ 11,409.00  (basic salary)
£ 10,501.97  (difference - largely down to bonus pay)

£  12.04        (hourly rate of pay based on 35 hour week)


£ 15,915.44  (annual earnings excluding overtime - unexplained drop, could be rogue figure)
£ 11,695.00  (basic salary)
£  4,220.44   (difference - largely down to bonus pay)

£  8.74          (hourly rate of pay based on 35 hour week)


£ 22,845.40  (annual earnings excluding overtime)
£ 11,986.00  (basic salary)
£ 10,859.40  (difference - largely down to bonus pay)

£  12.55        (hourly rate of pay based on 35 hour week)


£ 22,032.00  (annual earnings excluding overtime)
£ 14,665.00  (basic salary)
£   7,367.00  (difference - largely down to bonus pay)

£  12.11        (hourly rate of pay based on 35 hour week)


£ 23,006.00  (annual earnings excluding overtime)
£ 16,925.00  (basic salary)
£  6,081.00   (difference - largely down to bonus pay) 

£  12.64        (hourly rate of pay based on 35 hour week)


£ 23,349.48  (annual earnings excluding overtime)
£ 17,035.00  (basic salary)
£  6,934.48   (difference - largely down to bonus pay)

£  12.83        (hourly rate of pay based on 35 hour week)

The 'Annual Earnings' and 'Basic Salary' figures are taken directly from the Council's FOI response - although I have added the annual difference in pay and calculated an hourly rate of pay based on a 35 hour week.

But whatever way you 'slice snd dice' the outcome two things are crystal clear: 
  1. Female dominated jobs were being paid thousands of pounds a year less than their male colleagues - even when the women's jobs were on the same or a higher grade
  2. The big pay gap between male and female jobs continued after the introduction of job evaluation and the City Council's WPBR   
Much more to follow in the days ahead including pay details of other male jobs and,  for comparative purposes, the pay details of some of the female dominated jobs such as Home Carers.