Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Glasgow Equal Pay News



The latest news from Glasgow is that the new SNP-led City Council has been true to its word over by not appealing the recent decision from the Court of Session.

The Council had until last Tuesday to seek 'leave to appeal' the decision to the UK Supreme Court, but no such leave was sought by the deadline of 27 June 2017 - so the legal fight on that particular issue is now over, which is good news.

Action 4 Equality Scotland (A4ES) has requested an urgent meeting to progress settlement negotiations which will require City Council officials disclose full details of  the council's pay protection scheme and Employee Development Commitment (EDC).

The EDC, of course, guaranteed the earnings going forward of many former bonus earning, traditional male jobs.

  



Glasgow Equal Pay News (29/06/17)



Lots of readers in Glasgow have been in touch to ask for more information about the basis of people's equal pay claims and the backdating arrangements that may apply.

Now the Court of Session has effectively ruled that the pay of the women claimants in Glasgow City Council should have been brought into line with that of their male comparators and that, subsequently, the women should have been provided with the same pay protection arrangements as the men - see post below dated 31 May 2017.

The big question is how long these pay protections arrangements lasted because the trade unions, of course, threatened to go on strike if the higher (bonus related) pay of the was not maintained going forward from 2006/07 - the so-called Employee Development Commitment (EDC).

So if the male workers who benefited from the EDC still enjoy much higher pay that the women claimants in 2017, then it can obviously be argued that the women workers deserve equal treatment and that's certainly the stance that Action 4 Equality Scotland will be taking.  

I'm sure people will reflect on the fact that the local trade unions in Glasgow never once threatened strike action in order to bring the much lower pay of the women workers into line with their male comparators.

If the second part of the Court of Session appeal is upheld, the Council's job evaluation scheme (JES) and its WPBR pay arrangements are in even bigger trouble because this will trigger a new 'Second Wave' claim on the basis that the Council cannot justify the big pay differences between male and female jobs, quite separately from its Pay Protection Scheme (PPS) which was originally supposed to end in 2009.

An existing A4ES client would then have a claim going back to 2006/07 (depending when it was first registered) until the present date (June 2017) and also going forward until the claim is finally resolved.

Council employees who have not already registered an equal pay claim could do so if the Council's JES and WPBR are found to be 'unsound' and those claims would jump back 5 years and count going forward as well until the claim is resolved.

As ever, the local trade unions are talking nonsense and the GMB is not even part of the A4ES led challenge, in the Court of Session, to the City Council's JES and its WPBR pay arrangements. 

GMB members' claims are, as you know, restricted to the original end date for the pay protection scheme (PPS), i.e. April 2009.

   


Glasgow - The Next Steps (31/05/17)


Lots of readers have been in touch to ask about the 'next steps' in the fight for equal pay with Glasgow City Council which was given a huge boost with yesterday's victory in the Court of Session.

The City Council is now under new management following the local elections on 4 May 2017 and the new council leader, Cllr Susan Aitken, has already stated publicly that there will be no further appeals. 

So, presumably the City Council has finally realised that it's in a big hole and the first thing to do is to 'stop digging'.


Next Steps

The Court of Session appeal hearings in Edinburgh considered two main issues:
  • the pay protection arrangements put in place by Glasgow City Council (GCC) following the introduction of its WPBR pay scheme in 2006/07
  • the job evaluation (JE) side of the WPBR and its component parts - Core Pay, WCD and NSWP - which has been challenged by A4ES
The judgment of the court on 'pay protection' has gone in favour of the claimants and the previous decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal has been upheld - a further decision is now awaited on the job evaluation (JE) aspects of Glasgow's WPBR pay arrangements.

A4ES is now preparing to seize the initiative and move things forward.


Protection Period Claims

Winning pay protection in the Court of Session means that a further entitlement is now triggered for all existing claimants for the period from 2006/07 onwards - and at least until 2009.

If you ask, it's also very possible that pay protection claims could extend well beyond 2009 because Glasgow’s arrangements did not stop after just 3 years, as a result of the Council's Employee Development Commitment (EDC).

The EDC gave a guarantee (to male workers only) that the higher earnings of former bonus earning jobs, e.g. Gravediggers, Gardeners etc would be maintained at their previous levels  and without limit of time.

The trade unions threatened strike action to gain this further EDC concession from the Council, but this applied only to the former bonus earning, male comparator jobs.

For all their brave talk about championing equal pay the trade unions in Glasgow never threatened a similar campaign of industrial action to bring women workers' pay into line with their male comparators.

So thousands of female dominated women jobs lost out including: Home Carers, Cooks, Cleaners, Catering Workers, Clerical Staff, Classroom Assistants etc.


Glasgow's JE Scheme

If the Court of Session upholds the challenge to the JE scheme (WPBR) existing claimants will have further 'second wave' entitlement from 2006/07 to date (i.e. 2017) and also going forward until these cases are finally resolved.

If the Court of Session finds the WPBR to be unsatisfactory and not ‘fit for purpose’, this will opens up a whole new raft of claims for employees who have not registered an equal pay claim up until now. For existing council employees, a newly registered claim would jump back 5 years, in time i.e. to 2012, but could still be very significant.

Former employees may also be able to register new claims by taking action in the Sheriff Court (instead of the Employment Tribunals) which would potentially help thousands of ex-GCC workers who left their employment over the past 5 years  without registering an equal pay claim.

A4ES is now prepared to consider lodging new claims on the basis that these will be actively pursued in the event of a favourable judgement from the Court of Session in respect of the City Council's JE and WPBR pay arrangements. 

Waiting until the decision is actually released and its implications assessed will delay the starting date of any new claim, so it makes sense for potential claimants to act now and protect their interests.


Settlement Discussions with GCC

A4ES remains willing to enter into settlement discussions with the City Council, but the previous Labour-run administration failed to engage seriously on this issue between August 2016 and January 2017.

So before any serious negotiations could get underway, the City Council would need to ‘open the books', as it were, to allow the size and scale of any possible settlement to be fairly and properly assessed. 

Up until now the City Council has failed to deliver the pay information to explain fully the workings of the WPBR or, for example, its Employee Development Commitment to former bonus earning workers.


Enquiries and Further Information

If any readers in Glasgow would like to pursue this further, please contact Action 4 Equality Scotland at the following email address: enquiries@action4equality.co.uk - or ring A4ES on: 0131 659 9958. 

If you cannot get through by phone straight away (because of the volumes of calls), please leave a message and someone will get back to you as quickly as possible.