Friday, 29 June 2018

Glasgow - Pay and Grading Report

Here is the report to Glasgow's City Administration Committee which recommends that the 'unfit for purpose' WPBR is finally put to the sword and replaced by new pay arrangements which command the support of the council's workforce.

A good thing too, if you ask me, but the decision is at least 12 years late and seems likely to cost the Council hundreds of millions of pounds.


Item 428th June 2018

Glasgow City Council
City Administration Committee

Report by Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of the Council and City Convener for Inclusive Economic Growth

Contact: Robert Anderson, Head of Human Resources Ext: 75179page1image2474136432page1image2474136704page1image2474137296page1image2474137632

Purpose of Report:

To seek Committee approval to confirm that the current pay and grading system will be discontinued and replaced with a suitable alternative pay and grading system.

It is recommended that Committee:-
  1. (i)  notes the report;
  2. (ii)  confirms that the current pay and grading system is to be discontinued and replaced with a suitable alternative; and
  3. (iii)  instructs officers, working with the Trade Unions, to identify an alternative to the current WPBR Scheme, reporting this to a future Committee.
Ward No(s): Citywide: Local member(s) advised: Yes  No  consulted: Yes  No 


1 Introduction
  1. 1.1.  The Council adopted the Workforce Pay and Benefit Review (“WPBR”), implementing its job evaluation based pay and grading system, across the Council and a number of its ALEOs in 2006. Protracted litigation, challenging the scheme on equal pay grounds culminated at the Court of Session. In August 2017 the Court of Session ruled that it had not been established that WPBR was a valid job evaluation scheme. The Council decided at a City Administration Committee meeting on 17 January 2018 that it would not appeal the decision of the Court of Session to the Supreme Court and would, instead, commit to settling the outstanding equal pay claims by a process of negotiation with the claimants’ representatives.

  2. 1.2.  These negotiations commenced formally in January of this year and have been continuing approximately fortnightly since then. Settlement is, essentially, a retrospective act and does not necessarily affect the pay and grading of employees going forward. In practice, however, the act of settling claims relating to the past has a very significant impact on the integrity of the pay and grading system that has led directly to those claims being raised in the first place.

  3. 1.3.  The claimants’ representatives have advised that continuing with WPBR willresult in continued litigation against the Council.

  4. 1.4.  There are around 11,500 claimants representing both current and past employees of the Council and most of its ALEOs. They are predominantly represented by Action 4 Equality (A4E) although significant numbers are represented by Unison and the GMB.

  5. 1.5.  Adopting a new Job Evaluation Scheme and then developing a new pay and grading scheme, working with the claimants’ representatives to ensure that it is Equality Act compliant, does not guarantee that such a scheme would not be challenged by other parties. No pay and grading system is immune from challenge and, in consequence, no guarantee can be given that a new scheme will not attract challenge.
2 Implications of the Court of Session Decision
  1. 2.1.  The Court of Session found that the Council had failed to evidence that the WPBR scheme was valid, objective, analytical and capable of consistent application. The WPBR scheme, therefore, does not provide the Council with an automatic defence against equal value claims.
  2. 2.2.  Continuing with a scheme that does not provide an automatic defence against equal value claims is unsustainable, as the Council would then be open to continued litigation.
2.3. An option open to the Council would be to seek to amend the current scheme in order to make it Equality Act compliant. This would involve considerable work not markedly different from the work involved in implementing a new scheme. The claimants’ representatives also hold the view that it would be impracticable,as well as undesirable, to seek to amend WPBR and, as set out in section 2.3, having advised that continuing with WPBR would result in continued litigation against the council.
3 Next Steps
  1. 3.1.  If Committee decides to discontinue the WPBR scheme, the next step would be to identify an alternative means to determine the pay and grading of employees. There are a number of schemes available, for instance, our partners in the NHS use Agenda for Change; CSG have recently implemented a new pay and regrading system using the Hay methodology; and 28 of the other Councils in Scotland use the SJC scheme referred to as the Red Book scheme. Other schemes are also available.
  2. 3.2.  The Job Evaluation Work Stream is composed of officers and representatives from Unison and the GMB with those Trade Unions utilising technical assistance from A4E. Unite has been invited to join. This group has looked at criteria to inform the choice of scheme. Further work needs to be done, but forthe information of Committee the following represents the group’s initial criteriaassessment:-
Must be equality tested in design and have evidence of equality in impact. Must be updated to meet all revised equality duties - new protected characteristics and the Public Sector Equality Directive and pay gap reporting obligations. Must have ongoing access to equality updates from verified equality compliant owner.

Must be 100% transparent - scoring, weighting, pay modelling etc. and pay gap checking. The scheme cannot reward demands differently under separate matrices such as WCD which is used under WPBR.

Joint Working
Must be fully compatible with established principles and practice of Joint Working. Full TU access to all design, decision making, application and review processes. No "black box" functions or commercially confidential functions (factor levels, weightings etc). Capable of being understood, applied, challenged, monitored and review by TUs through joint industrial relations processes

Aside from a quality scheme, the product must be accompanied by training, guidance and related materials in plain English and capable of application in an inclusive Joint TU process.

Breadth and Depth of Job Population
Must have a factor plan capable of measuring a broad range of jobs including
senior officers if needed.

Public Sector Ethos
Factor plan and weights that reflect public sector ethos valuing public sector delivery tasks both "back office" and community delivery of services. No exaggerated value or reward for managerial authority or other private sector distortions. Appropriate reward of care skills/attributes and for manual work relative to non-manual regardless of gender. Able to recruit and retain key skills.

Speed, Complexity, ResourcesThe relative draw on staff time and other resources and the time taken to
complete the whole exercise.

This is preferable in terms of speed, record keeping, consistency checking, transparency, updates etc, but the quality of the online capability must be verifiable.

Resilient to challenge (appeals, litigation etc). Resilient to pressure from service change, workforce re-modelling etc. Durable in terms of maintenance for lower level changes such as job drift, new technology etc.

Forward System Compatibility
Workable interface with payroll, other workforce information systems e.g.
workforce development, shift planning systems etc

Policy and Resource Implications Resource Implications:
Financial: Legal: Personnel:
No new financial implications, at this time.
No new legal issues

There are no personnel implications, at this time.

Council Strategic Plan: Equality Impacts:
Does the proposal support the Council’sEquality Outcomes 2017- 22
What are the potential equality impacts as a result of this report?

Sustainability Impacts:

Privacy and Data Protection impacts:
No relevant procurement issues
A Well Governed City that listens and responds

Not applicable, at this time.
No significant impact, at this time.
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
No data protection impacts identified.

5   Recommendations

5.1. It is recommended that Committee:-
  1. (i)  notes the report;
  2. (ii)  confirms that the current pay and grading system is to be discontinued and replaced with a suitable alternative; and
  3. (iii)  instructs officers, working with the Trade Unions, to identify an alternative to the current WPBR Scheme, reporting this to a future Committee.

Glasgow, Equal Pay and Dead Parrots (19/06/18)

The Evening Times reports that Glasgow City Council is finally accepting that its WPBR pay scheme really is a 'dead parrot'.

Now no mention is made of the fact that the Court of Session, Scotland's highest civil court, condemned Glasgow's WPBR pay arrangements as 'unfit for purpose' way back in August 2017 - after a huge legal battle.

Nor is any mention made of the fact that the Council's discredited pay scheme was only put to the sword after a fantastic campaign by Glasgow's equal pay claimants - supported by A4ES, GMB and Unison.

A casual reader of the Evening Times could be forgiven for thinking that this decision was reached by 'enlightened' council officials and political leaders who woke up one day and decided - all by themselves - that the workforce suddenly deserved fair and transparent pay arrangements, untainted by the blatant sex discrimination associated with the WPBR.  

So since the Council is not giving credit where credit is due, let me say a big THANK YOU to the thousands of equal ay claimants across Glasgow who made this day possible.

Glasgow City Council pay and grading system to be scrapped

By Stewart Paterson @PatersonHT - Evening Times

Equal Pay MFG

A SHAKE up of council staff pay and conditions is on the cards as the current system is to be scrapped.

Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, said the workforce pay and benefits system, which is used to grade staff and determines wages and overtime rates is not fit for purpose.

The Workforce Pay and Benefits Review (WPBR)system is linked to the equal pay case which council officers are negotiating a settlement with unions and legal representatives of the claimants.

Writing in Today’s Evening Times Ms Aitken said that after talks with unions the council will be asked to give its approval to abandon the current WPBR and start work to create a whole new system.

It is likely the new system will be based on the Red Book which is an agreement used by most Scottish councils.

While it is hoped that negotiations will be concluded by the end of this year on the equal pay claims, the implementation of a new pay and grading structure will take much longer to implement.

Ms Aitken said: “Work on a fairer replacement will commence immediately after that and continue over the summer.

“Once identified, it would be two or three further years before it could be fully implemented. “We mustn’t repeat the mistakes of a decade ago and expose ourselves to fresh inequalities with another flawed system.

“This is what we are paying the price for. We need time to do this properly.”

Staff have been informed of the decision and work with the unions is expected to begin immediately.

The current grading system was introduced in 2007 and was supposed to deal with gender inequality in the light of equal pay claims but women workers argue it discriminates against them as female dominated jobs like home care are paid less than jobs which are dominated by men like cleansing.

It is expected that any changes in the new system will lead to greater value being placed on the work traditionally done by women workers.

Ms Aitken added: “As Council Leader I am committed to implementing a fully funded, fair and just pay and grading scheme which pays equally for equal work and which our employees have confidence in.”

The current pay and grading system was, at the time, agreed by the unions representing workers at the council.

Why Glasgow's WPBR Had To Go! (25/05/18)

What great news about Glasgow's discredited WPBR finally being put to the sword - now I know it's taken an long time, but be in no doubt that this is a huge victory for the claimants.

A big 'THANK YOU' is due to everyone who played a part in getting the claimants' 'unfit for purpose' message across to Glasgow's councillors, MSPs and MPs - and it just goes to show what can be achieved when people stay positive, stick together and refuse to be fobbed off. 

Because this time last year the City Council was defending the WPBR to the hilt and senior officials were reassuring Glasgow's councillors that their pay scheme was as 'sound as a pound' - and would see off any challenge at the Court of Session. 

But what a difference a year makes!

So congratulations all round and here is a series of posts from the blog site archive which explain why the Council's WPBR sucks 'big time' and why the scheme had to be replaced.

The task now is to agree a new job evaluation scheme (JES) and new pay and grading arrangements which are open, transparent and command the confidence of the council workforce.

The other big challenge is to get down to serious negotiations about compensating all of the equal pay claimants who have effectively been treated as as 'second class citizens' while the WPBR has been operating for the past twelve years.


Why Glasgow's WPBR Sucks (8)

Here is the stark and shocking reality of how the 'rules' of the WPBR have been designed by Glasgow City Council to disadvantage female dominated jobs while favouring traditional male jobs.

The most notorious example is the completely invented '37 hour rule' and the accompanying overtime working practices which treat women workers as second class citizens. 
  • 98% of male dominated jobs benefit from the 37 hour rule and O/T practices
  • 2% of female dominated jobs benefit from the 37 hour rule and O/T practices
  • No other work related benefit operates in this way - people don't have to work 37 hours to qualify for holiday pay, sick pay, maternity leave, paternity leave etc.
  • Put simply the 'rule' is a blatant example of the gender discrimination on which the whole WPBR is based.
Many Home Carers, for example, work more than 37 hours every week, but they are issued with separate contracts for working these additional hours so they don't qualify for premium, overtime rates.

If you ask me, the double standards built into the WPBR are completely indefensible which is why Glasgow's 'unfit for purpose' pay scheme has to go.


New Year Message for Glasgow (01/01/18)

If I were running Glasgow City Council, I would extend an invitation Frans de Waal's to explain the psychology of equal pay to the council's senior officials 

Watch this great excerpt from Ted Talks to see how low paid women workers in Glasgow have been treated for years, as second class citizens, paid in 'cucumbers' while their male colleagues were being rewarded with much juicer and tastier grapes.

But thanks to the long fight for equal pay and powerful backing from the Court of Session, Scotland's highest civil court, the tables have turned.

Glasgow's lowest paid, predominantly female workers now have the confidence to tell City Council bosses to stick their cucumbers where the sun don't shine!