Lots of readers have been in touch to ask for advice on the following hot topic:
"Can I pursue a new equal pay claim with Action 4 Equality Scotland?"
Now the answer to this question is 'Yes', by and large, for the reasons explained below, but please note there are different categories of potential new claimants.
Can existing council employees raise new claims?
Existing Glasgow employees who have never before registered a claim can do so now because the recent Court of Session decision has thrown a big spanner into the works of the City Council's pay protection arrangements.
As regular readers know, the Court has already decided that the pay protection scheme (PPS) should have been extended to the claimants' jobs as well as the jobs of the former bonus earning (male) comparators.
The PPS should have ended after three years, but the judges also noted that the City Council's Employee Development Commitment (EDC) gave further protection to these male comparator jobs without any limit of time, after the threat of industrial action by the unions.
So all Glasgow employees, even those who do not currently have a claim, have the ability to argue that their jobs should receive the same treatment as their male comparators.
If the Court of Session goes on to find the City Council's job evaluation (JE) scheme is 'unfit for purpose', this will simply reinforce the case for claimant jobs to receive equal treatment.
Can I still claim even if I left the Council's employment some time ago?
Yes, following a recent decision by the UK Supreme Court it is now possible to make claims in the Sheriff Court and then have them transferred over to the Employment Tribunal.
In Scotland the maximum period claimants can go back is 5 years.
So if you left the council more than five years ago then you will not be able to claim. There is also a slightly higher initial fee to be paid by going down the Sheriff Court route, but this will be paid upfront by A4ES and recovered from claimants' settlements.
Can I transfer my existing equal pay claim from the GMB to Action 4 Equality Scotland?
In North Lanarkshire, for example, the GMB restricted its members claims to only 3 years unlike all the other claimant organisations who followed Action 4 Equality Scotland's lead.
The GMB appears to have done the same in Glasgow where the union is not challenging the EDC Pay Protection Scheme (PPS) and is not part of the second appeal in the Court of Session regarding the City Council's job evaluation (JE) scheme and the WPBR pay arrangements.
The A4ES legal team would obviously need to assess GMB cases on an individual basis to ensure that they can be taken forward and have not been compromised in some way.
How do I make new equal pay claim with Action 4 Equality Scotland?
In one of the following ways: