Monday, 4 June 2018

Glasgow's - Second Class Citizens

I've been banging on forever about Cordia employees being treated as 'second class citizens' while Glasgow's chief executive (Annemarie O'Donnell) continues to insist that everyone is part of the wider 'Council Family'.

Now this 'Family' business is a load of old bollix, if you ask me, and so I've published a few posts from the blog site archive to explain why - including the following extract from an Equal Pay Update dated 30 April 2018. 

"For example, the current chief executive (Annemarie O'Donnell) was directly involved in setting up Glasgow's ALEOs including Cordia which has treated the Cordia workforce as 'second class' citizens for years. Cordia is now being dismantled, but instead of apologising for this mess and its impact on staff, officials are singing their own praises and presenting the ALEO debacle as a great policy success."
Stefan Cross has just published a Facebook post (below) which highlights a whole range of areas where Cordia employees have been treated less favourably than their colleagues in other parts of the council - which to me makes a mockery of the phrase 'Council Family'.

Because what kind of family, in this day and age, allows some of its members to be picked upon and forced to accept poorer conditions than everyone else?

If you already have an equal pay claim registered with A4ES, you don't have to do anything because A4ES has taken this issue up on your behalf.

If you don't have an equal pay claim registered - GET A MOVE ON, WHAT'S ARE YOU WAITING FOR!

The same is true for GMB and Unison who will be contacting their members directly. 




As folk who’ve been following my posts and the A4ES videos will know a new issue arose with GCC and CORDIA over holiday pay. The council disputed that there was a valid holiday pay claim but suddenly announced it was making a one off, un-agreed, payment which it claimed was Back Holiday money. 

This led all the claimant groups to file grievances and for us all to work on a common set of new claims.

A4ES has now issued nearly 3000 new claims against Cordia and GCC. Despite Annmarie O’Donnell seeking to airbrush A4ES out of the equal pay dispute, we are still very much alive and kicking.

As part of the preparation for the new claims we had to go over the differences in treatment of Cordia women and the rest of GCC staff. They too get a raw deal but it’s nothing compared to the shocking treatment of Cordia staff. And the council are shocked at the 99% strike vote.

Here is an extract from our pleadings :

“”Employees working at Cordia are overwhelmingly female. The jobs allocated to Cordia by GCC are jobs overwhelmingly done by women. 88% of employees in Cordia are women. The proportion of staff that are women is far higher in Cordia than in GCC or other ALEOS. 

Further the jobs performed mainly by women in Cordia are those posts that most often work shifts, overtime and unsocial hours. Indeed after the transfer to Cordia, GCC instituted a 7 on 7 off rota for Cordia Staff with the terms of these arrangements being worse for Cordia staff than for the staff in GCC or any other ALEO.
5. Employees employed directly by GCC and all other ALEOS have better terms and conditions than employees assigned to Cordia. Employment by Cordia is accordingly a PCP within the meaning of the Equality Act. These included better terms as to
b. NSWP (Non Standard Working Pattern),
c. WCD (Working Context Demands),
The claimant seeks repayment of all of these elements of pay in addition to the underpayment of her holiday pay calculation plus interest and Injury to Feelings.”

We want recompense for all of this appalling treatment.

Remember, all of this was done under a Labour administration supposedly committed to equality and covered by the public sector equality duty which Labour created.

I will be fascinated to see how the SNP Administration seeks to justify this treatment. 

Yes taking cordia back into GCC is a good thing but only some of this discrimination is being removed and nothing has been offered for the past, and currently ongoing, discrimination.

Yes there are some men in Cordia and we will launch claims for them too.

All the claimant groups should be submitting their Cordia claims too. This was good team work.

Anyone want a copy of the full pleadings just email Karl Bromley

Stefan Cross

Glasgow - Equal Pay Update (30/04/18)

Here's a report on the equal pay meeting held on Friday in the Dixon Halls.

Settlement negotiations
Progress in settlement negotiations with senior council officials has been painfully slow and after 10 full meetings there has still been no serious negotiation on how to compensate the claimants for the ongoing and sizeable pay gaps between the Council's traditional male and female jobs. 

The other major stumbling block is that senior officials are still trying to defend the Council's discredited pay arrangements even though their WPBR scheme has been condemned as 'unfit for purpose' by the highest civil court in Scotland, the Court of Session.

The Claimants Side has presented proposals to the Council which address the issue of financial compensation and these is due to be discussed at the next joint negotiating meeting takes place on 22 May 2018.

If the Council responds positively, serious negotiations can finally get underway but for this to happen council officials need to accept that pay practices such as the 37 hour 'rule' are discriminatory, unjustifiable - and need to go.

Is the Council serious about settlement?
It's difficult to say for sure because council officials are still trying to defend their record and past behaviour while the City's elected councillors stay 'above the fray'. I've been involved in the settlement process in many other Scottish councils, but I have to say the equal pay negotiations in Glasgow City Council lack a sense of urgency, purpose and direction.

The politicians may have willed the 'ends' when it comes to equal pay, in the sense that they all say they are in favour of a solution, but they have yet to will the means by facing up to the big issues. 

Nor have they been willing, so far at least, to hold senior officials to account even though many of these officials helped to get the Council into this mess in the first place.

For example, the current chief executive (Annemarie O'Donnell) was directly involved in setting up Glasgow's ALEOs including Cordia which has treated the Cordia workforce as 'second class' citizens for years. Cordia is now being dismantled, but instead of apologising for this mess and its impact on staff, officials are singing their own praises and presenting the ALEO debacle as a great policy success.     

The fight continues
So the fight for equal pay in Glasgow City Council continues and we need to re-double our efforts to get the claimants message across in the run-up to the crunch meeting on 22 May - over the next 3/4 weeks a variety of events are taking place to do just that.

TU ballots on strike action
Unison and GMB are both holding consultative ballots on future strike action in the event that equal pay settlement negotiations break down or become a complete farce. Unison's ballot gets underway on Monday 30 April and concludes on 30 May - the GMB is working to a similar timetable. Strike action is now a real possibility and if this does go ahead Glasgow will be the first council in Scotland to face  industrial action over equal pay.

Friday 4 May 2018
A Working Group has been established to consider the issue of Job Evaluation (JE) and the WPBR and this meets on Friday 4 May. The view of the Claimants Side is clear - the WPBR is 'unfit for purpose' and has to go and the Council should commit itself to a new JE scheme which is open, transparent and commands the support of the workforce. So Friday 4 should be a short meeting.

Sunday 6 May 2018
The Annual Glasgow May Day march and rally is taking place on Sunday 6 May and the organisers have agreed that the theme this year will be Equal Pay - 50 years on from the 1970 Equal Pay Act. The march assembles in George Square and ends up in the Royal Concert Hall with a rally and speakers.

Monday/Tuesday - 14/15 May 2018
The Council Side is due to respond to the Claimants' settlement proposals on Monday 14 May 2018 and the Claimants Side will meet the following day to consider what the Council has to say. At that point it will become clear whether the Council is serious about a negotiated settlement of the outstanding claims.

Thursday 17 May 2018 
A lobby of the next full Council meeting is taking place on Thursday 17 May 2018 and the is an ideal opportunity to lobby local councillors in person ahead of what is likely to be a very important meeting. Further details will follow via the blog site and elsewhere.  

Tuesday 22 May 2018 
The next joint meeting between the Claimants' and Council representatives is on Tuesday 22 May. By this time it should be clear what the Council's intentions are - is there the basis for a negotiation on the Claimants settlement proposals or is the Council trying to drag things out for ever and a day.

Freedom of Information
Senior officials in Glasgow are fighting a desperate rearguard action to prevent proper scrutiny of exactly what their role was during the introduction of the WPBR back in 2005/07. The Council's chief executive, for example, claims that officials acted in good faith over the WPBR and that their aim was to eliminate gender pay discrimination, but at the same time this claim looks decidedly daft given the introduction of a blatantly discriminatory 37 hour 'rule' under the WPBR.

Senior officials are also blocking access to Council records which would prove or disprove their claim one way or the other - so what are they so keen to hide?

Lobbying councillors, MSPs and MPs
One of the most effective ways of getting our message across in the next few weeks is to directly lobby Glasgow's councillors, MSPs and MPs. Now no one is expecting the politicians to take over the running of the Council because,"'Why have a dog and bark yourself?" 

But it is perfectly possible for elected councillors, MSPs and MPs to speak up and say where they stand on issues like the 37 hour 'rule', the case for replacing the WPBR, the 'second class' treatment of Cordia workers - and the need for openness and transparency surrounding the introduction of the WPBR.

So even if claimants have done so before, now is the time to be raising these issues with Glasgow's elected politicians using the information people have to hand via the blog site, the Equal Pay Facebook page and campaign materials from Unison and GMB. 


Glasgow's Second Class Citizens (20/10/17)

Glasgow City Council has just issued an insulting letter to Home Carers (via Cordia) which invites staff to work extra hours and shifts in the run up to Christmas.

The letter says that Home Carers have the "opportunity to consider the following options on a voluntary basis": 
  • working some of their unspent annual leave - on their current rate of pay 
  • agreeing to work additional shifts for a 10 week period up to 16 December 2017 
Now the laugh is that if traditional male jobs such as Gardeners, Refuse Workers and Gravediggers were doing these additional hours and shifts, they would earn premium  rates of pay.

So if you ask me, it's completely outrageous that Home Carers are being offered far inferior terms than their male colleagues for working beyond their normal contracted hours.

Because this kind of discriminatory practice should have ended many years ago by virtue of the new national Single Status (Equal Pay) Agreement which every local council in Scotland and all the trade unions signed up to back in 1999.

In effect, Home Carers in Glasgow are being treated like 'second class' citizens by the City Council and this is a perfect illustration of what the fight for equal pay is all about. 


Glasgow 'Council Family' Bollix

A kind reader sent me the latest edition of 'Insider' the in-house journal of Glasgow City Council which contains the following message from the Council's chief executive  Annemarie O'Donnell.

Now Annemarie has nothing to say about equal pay and chooses instead to focus on recent structural changes within the Council including the decision to wind-up Cordia as an ALEO - Arm's Length External Organisation.

If you ask me this is a lot of old guff and weasel words about the 'Glasgow Family' which completely avoids the reason Cordia was set up in the first place or Cordia's  behaviour in treating its largely female workforce as second class citizens for years.

So to even things up and set the record straight I have included a couple of post from the blog site archive which tell the real story about Cordia and why it was really created - to help the Council wriggle out of its obligations over equal pay.

If I remember correctly, there are some Cordia 'all staff' meetings coming up in the next few weeks to discuss its return to direct council control .

I'll be interested to hear from people who go along - in complete confidence, of course.




Any organisation as big and diverse as the council family experiences a great deal of change.
These changes are often strategic and planned – but, occasionally, they are driven by outside events and test our ability to adapt and respond to new challenges.

However they come about, these changes are all part and parcel of the role we play in the daily life of the city.

Over recent months, we have seen a number of planned changes in how we organise ourselves in order to ensure we continue to deliver efficient and effective services for the city.

The shape of the Glasgow family has continued to evolve – our City Marketing Bureau is now embedded within Glasgow Life; City Building has become a joint venture with the Wheatley Group, and Corporate Services has been merged across Financial Services and my own team.

The scheduled end of the ACCESS joint venture has seen the creation of a new corporate landlord, within DRS, with ICT services being carried out by a new contractor, CGI – working with experienced staff seconded from the council.

We have created a new Community Empowerment and Equalities team, headed up by its own Director and working across the council family, Community Planning partners, governments, business, academia and the third sector.

And, within the last few weeks, members have agreed further changes; perhaps the most significant of which will mean the services currently delivered by our colleagues at Cordia – and many of those delivered by Community Safety Glasgow – being relocated.

You can read more about these changes on page three of this month’s edition of Insider, but it is important that everyone is clear that vital jobs that staff do won’t change.

The hard work that staff do to support their fellow Glaswegians and our neighbourhoods will continue and I want to thank them all for their dedication, commitment and focus right through this process.

I also want to make sure we all understand how these and other changes reflect and help deliver the council’s Strategic Plan and Glasgow’s Community Plan.

Hopefully you know that the latter, developed by Glasgow Community Planning Partnership, sets out a vision for a world class city, with thriving and resilient communities where everyone can flourish and benefit from the city’s success.

Partners have now developed an action plan for the next two years, which starts to detail what will be required to meet that goal – with a particular focus on transport and childcare.

You can find out more by visiting Glasgow CPP at www.glasgowcpp.

If you use social media, you can also follow the Glasgow Community Planning Partnership at @GlasgowCPP and

As always, I’m happy to hear your ideas and suggestions. You can contact me by email.

Glasgow's Shame Over ALEOs (28/05/18)

Here's an astonishing email which has been sent to the 'Council Family' at Glasgow City Council by the council's chief executive Annemarie O'Donnell.

Now I'm not part of the 'Council Family' but if I were, I'd be absolutely furious at the way the council's top boss has quietly glossed over her own role in creating Glasgow's ALEOs back in 2007 - and the fact that one of the main purposes for these arm's length companies was to try and assist the City Council to wriggle out of its obligations over equal pay. 

Once the ALEOs were in place, senior and very highly paid officials argued that they were completely independent and separate employers from Glasgow City Council.

So, in their eyes of these senior officials, equal pay claimants could no longer compare their earnings with the much higher pay of Council employees outside of their own ALEO, Cordia being the prime example.

And if council officials had succeeded with this ploy, the perfectly valid equal pay claims of thousands of Home Care workers and other low paid Cordia staff would now be 'dead in the water'.

After all this time, Annemarie O'Donnell is having to eat her own words by dismantling these 'arm's length' companies which have proved very costly to the public purse and to Cordia staff who are employed on much less favourable conditions than the rest of the council workforce.

If you ask me, the City Council has made the right decision in making this policy U-turn, but the political leaders of the council should be telling the chief executive it's time to move on and find a new challenege elsewhere. 

Because Annemarie O'Donnell has played a crucial role throughout this shameful ALEO episode, both in terms of establishing these arm's length bodies and in presiding over pay arrangements which treated Cordia's largely female workforce as second class citizens.


Subject: Council Family Review Update: message from Annemarie O'Donnell Chief Executive

I want to keep you up to date about proposed changes to the council family structure as a result of the ongoing council family review, which aims to make sure we have the most efficient and effective operating model to deliver best value services for the city.

A report is going to the council’s City Administration Committee for a decision on 19 April about the future of Cordia and the services delivered by Community Safety Glasgow on our behalf.


We have reviewed the services that Cordia deliver and we are recommending that these vital services for citizens can be delivered more efficiently under other council services, as outlined below, and Cordia LLPs can be wound up, although the brand name of Cordia and Encore could be retained. This will allow us to remove duplication and streamline services to make them more efficient. Cordia staff would also transfer to the council services below.

 *   Homecare and associated care services including operational support and contact services to be transferred to Social Work Services under the direction of the Health and Social Care partnership.

 *   Facilities Management services including catering to be transferred to Property and Land Services, Development and Regeneration Services.

 *   Remaining support staff would transfer to an appropriate functional area in the council including: human resources, finance, communications, procurement and business administration.

Community Safety Glasgow

We have also reviewed the services that Community Safety Glasgow (CSG) deliver on our behalf and are recommending that these services can be more efficiently delivered under the management of the Executive Director for Neighbourhoods and Sustainability. CSG support staff would also transfer to an appropriate functional area in the council including: human resources, finance, communications, business administration and facilities.

Best value services for the city

The council has an ongoing responsibility to review its structures and the delivery of its services to make sure that we continue to meet legislative changes, avoid duplication and deliver best value efficient and effective services for the city. We also need to consider that the shape of the council family has changed since the ALEOs were established and new legislative partnerships have been formed, including the Health and Social Care partnership with the NHS and the more recent Glasgow Community Planning Partnership.

With all this in mind, the recommendations in the report are a result of more detailed business cases with input from all affected areas of the council family to achieve the best operating model for council services.

Next Steps

All affected staff will receive a communication about how these proposals could affect them from the directors of the organisation they work for. If the proposals in the report are approved, an implementation plan will be developed with a view to staff transfers taking place no later than 30 September 2018 for Cordia and 31 March 2019 for CSG.

I will communicate the decision of the committee after this has been taken on 19 April. The full report will be published in the public meeting agenda on Friday 13 April on council’s website here<>


Annemarie O’Donnell
Chief Executive

Glasgow's Shame Over ALEOs (17/02/18)

Here's a little reminder that the appalling decision to set up Glasgow's ALEOs (Arms Length External Organisations) was headed up by the City Council's current chief executive Annemarie O'Donnell - see article below from Holyrood Magazine.

Following a two year secondment as deputy director of social work services, she returned to corporate services in 2007, serving as assistant director and head of external governance as the council established its ALEOs.

Now since the real reason for setting up ALEOs in the first place was a shameful attempt to circumvent the Glasgow City Council's obligations over equal pay, surely it's time close these organisations down.

Yet again the Court of Session sent Glasgow City Council packing and if you ask me, the politicians and officials behind this crazy scheme owe the workforce an apology.  


Glasgow - Equal Pay Update (09/01/18)

Here's an interesting article from 'Holyrood Magazine' which was published back in 2014 just as Annemarie O'Donnell's was appointed as the new and first woman chief executive of Glasgow City Council.

The upshot is that Annemarie has been in a variety of senior positions within the council for a very long time - through the Christmas 2005 'capped' settlement offers, the introduction of the WPBR in 2007 and the establishment of Glasgow's ALEOs - before succeeding Ian Drummond as executive director of corporate services and then George Black as CEO.

What puzzles me though is why there has been such a long and hard fight for equal pay in Glasgow when the City Council has such powerful women in its senior ranks?

Regular readers will know that Carole Forrest succeeded Annemarie as executive director of corporate services (which deals with Freedom of Information requests) and that Glasgow now has a woman Lord Provost (Eva Bolander) and a woman council leader (Susan Aitken).

The political changes at the top of the City Council are relatively recent, of course, but isn't it remarkable that the battle over equal pay has been so fierce in Glasgow - even with women officials in the most senior positions.


New chief executive for Glasgow City Council
Written by Kate Shannon on 12 November 2014 in News

Annemarie O’Donnell has been appointed

Glasgow City Council has appointed a new chief executive to replace George Black, who retires next month.

Annemarie O’Donnell, who has been the council’s executive director of corporate services since 2011, was chosen for the role last week.

Black announced his retirement in August and will leave the council on 11 December.

Councillor Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “The quality of candidates was exceptionally high but Annemarie brings a wealth of experience, passion and vision to the role and was the unanimous choice of the interview panel.

"There has never been a more exciting time to work in Glasgow, with the city in the spotlight like never before following the best ever Commonwealth Games and the signing of Scotland’s first city deal. I am in no doubt that Annemarie is the best possible choice to lead our dedicated and talented staff through the next chapter in our city’s long and proud history.

“I also want to take this opportunity to thank George Black for his exceptional work on behalf of the city and wish him every happiness and success in the future.”

I believe we have the energy, the ideas and, crucially, the best people to meet those challenges

O’Donnell, 49, is a qualified solicitor and a member of the Law Society of Scotland. She has two adult children and her husband is a lawyer specialising in criminal law.

After joining Glasgow District Council from a legal practice in the east end of Glasgow in 1991, she worked as a solicitor and then senior solicitor in a team focusing on construction, housing and planning.

Following local government reorganisation in 1996, she was promoted to chief solicitor, leading the council’s work on commercial contracts, procurement, planning and environmental law.

In 2003, O’Donnell was appointed assistant head of legal and administrative services, a new post that saw her take responsibility for the running of elections for the first time – along with committee services, registrars, litigation, licensing and corporate law.

Following a two year secondment as deputy director of social work services, she returned to corporate services in 2007, serving as assistant director and head of external governance as the council established its ALEOs.

She said: “I am delighted and humbled to have been appointed. This is a really exciting time for Glasgow. There is no doubt the next few years will be challenging for everyone in local government. But I believe we have the energy, the ideas and, crucially, the best people to meet those challenges.”

Read Holyrood’s full interview with George Black here.

Glasgow's Shame Over ALEOs (14/02/18)

How's this for a nonsense story from the Evening Times?

Services provided by ALEOs are part of Glasgow City Council yet they are being spoken about here as if they 'owe' the council money! 

Glasgow's ALEOs were set up by a previous Labour administration in a effort to escape the council's obligations over equal pay.

At the time, Glasgow argued that ALEOs were completely separate employers and independent legal entities which meant (they said) that workers employed in ALEOs could not compare their pay to comparable (male) workers in other parts of the council.

A4ES challenged this argument in the Court of Session and won which is a good thing if you ask me, because were it not for this ruling the fight for equal pay in Glasgow would have been stopped in its tracks years ago.

But it just goes to show you what sneaky moves and dirty tricks these senior officials get up to given half a chance.

As everyone now knows, staff working for Cordia who predominantly women, of course, are employed on poorer pay and conditions than those working in other male dominated areas of the council, e.g. Land Services and City Building!

Aleos come up short on cash for Glasgow City Council

By Stewart Paterson - Evening Times

Cordia, the council’s catering and care service, is said to be £2m down on projections

GLASGOW City Council’s Aleos have a £2 million shortfall in the last three months, according to the latest report.

The monitoring report into the ten Arms Length External Organisations owned by the council shows they are coming up short of the budgeted for cash expectations.

The firms, that are intended to deliver a discount, meaning cash goes back to the council, are not making as much as anticipated.

The biggest deficits are showing for Cordia the council’s catering and care firm and Glasgow Life which runs museums, libraries and leisure centres.

Cordia is £2m down while Glasgow Life is £1.3m lower than projected.

The reports said Glasgow Life was struggling with income from its Glasgow Sport arm.

It stated: Actual income in Sport is lower than anticipated and continues to be extremely challenging.”

The Aleo is predicting a deficit of £1m for the year compared to a budget expectation is would break even.

The report added: “Glasgow Life are putting in place various interventions to manage this through underspends across the service.”

Cordia has a surplus of £31,000 against a budgeted for surplus of £2,059,000. The monitoring report found that the catering and technical care operations were doing better than forecast but the home care and facilities sections were below expectations.

It is £1m lower than the expected surplus of almost £3.5m.

The council’s budget expects income form the Aleos termed discounts totalling more than £14m.

The report stated: “ Forecast shortfalls in their surplus are reporter for Cordia, City Property and City Building which is likely to impact on the discount which is due to be returned to the council. City Property and City Building are mitigating this shortfall with the use of reserves and carry forwards.”

The council is due to set the budget in the next few weeks with further cuts expected to departments.

A spokesman for the City Council said A spokesman said: “Both organisations are on track to return a surplus to the council, however, the report details that, at quarter three, these are below the levels budgeted at the start of the financial year.

“These are known issues that are taken account of in the council’s overall financial position.”