Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Scottish Government and Equal Pay



The Herald reports on a £30 million loan provided by the Scottish Government to a business bought by one of Nicola Sturgeon's economic advisers.

Small beer perhaps in the context of the equal pay bill facing Glasgow City Council of around £500 million, but interesting all the same.

  

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/16322446.greens-demand-details-on-30m-loan-to-sturgeon-advisers-business/

Greens demand details on £30m loan to Sturgeon adviser's business


By Tom Gordon - The Herald


First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with Ferguson Marine owner Jim McColl.

THE Scottish Greens have demanded more information about a taxpayer-funded £30m loan to a business bought by one of Nicola Sturgeon’s economic advisers.

The SNP Government yesterday announced it was giving the money to Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited (FMEL), despite questions over its financial disclosures.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said the money would provide “working capital” for the Clyde shipbuilder alongside private investment intended to help diversify the business.

The Port Glasgow yard was acquired by billionaire Jim McColl, a member of the First Minister’s Council of Economic Advisers, after it went into administration in 2014.
READ MORE: Theresa May hails £20bn frigate deal as biggest naval defence contract for decade

However it has been flagged on the Companies House website for not yet filing its annual accounts for 2016, which were due by September 2017.

The most recent public accounts are for the year ending December 2015.

Its immediate parent company, Ferguson Marine Engineering (Holdings) Ltd, is also nine months overdue filing its annual accounts, according to the Companies House website.

Ferguson Marine last night said it had an approval for late filing, but did not explain why it needed it - extensions are normally granted for events outwith a company’s control.

There is no public record of a late filing approval on the Companies House website. Both firms are ultimately owned by Mr McColl’s Clyde Blowers empire.

Glasgow's MSPs and Equal Pay



A regular reader has been in touch to ask what role, if any, MSPs have to play in helping to bring the long-running equal pay dispute in Glasgow to an end. 

Now some folks will tell you that MSPs have absolutely no formal say which is correct and that the only people who matter are the ones who have a 'vote' - the 85 elected councillors of Glasgow City Council.

But as everyone knows who knows anything, there is a whole lot more to politics that just voting, not least because local councillors are part of a much wider political network involving MSPs, MPs and their political parties.

Nicola Sturgeon doesn't have a vote, for example, but Nicola is easily the most influential politician in Glasgow and if she decided to speak up on her constituents' behalf over equal pay or the WPBR's bogus 37 hour 'rule', for example, I have no people would listen.

So the views of local councillors and which way they will eventually jump or 'vote' on the big issues are influenced by the political party machines, by Westminster MPs and, most of all, by Holyrood MSPs.

Not least because local councils (including Glasgow) receive most of their funding from the Scottish Parliament and, even more importantly, Scotland's 32 local councils don't have the power to borrow money on their own.

Local councils have to seek permission from the Scottish Government before they can borrow money - they are tightly regulated - 
which means that Holyrood and its MSPs hold the purse strings at the end of the day.

Here's a letter from the Council leader to one of Glasgow's equal pay claimants which skirts carefully around the issue of the Scottish Parliament and its MSPs, but I think it's fair to say that the Glasgow contingent of MSPs are trying to keep their distance over equal pay - they have largely been posted 'missing' up until now.

Which is shame if you ask me because they speak out on all kinds issues, on a daily basis, via facebook and Twitter.   

Dear M

You have sent this to me, not to someone called Chris. I have already sent a full response to an email I received earlier today, which said it was from your daughter. I have nothing further to add to that except to say that the equal pay issue has nothing to do with MPs or MSPs, it is entirely a Council matter. The First Minister has made very clear what the SNP’s policy position is on equal pay more generally, and the approach being followed here in Glasgow is entirely in line with that.

Sincerely,


Councillor Susan Aitken
Leader of the Council
SNP Councillor for Langside

  


The Quiet Bunch (19/06/18)



I came across this Tweet and photo from Bob Doris on Twitter the other day which speaks about him catching up with a local Glasgow councillor, Allan Casey.

So I took the opportunity to respond to Bob by asking him if, by any chance, the two Glasgow politicians discussed emergency weather payments and the City Council's 'second class' treatment of Cordia staff.

I haven't heard back from Bob, as yet, but the important thing is not so much for me to be contacting Glasgow Councillors, MSPs and MPS about equal pay - though I do on a very regular basis.

The important thing is for equal pay claimants to be raising these issues directly with local politicians - and ask what they are doing by way of making representations to Glasgow City Council on behalf of local constituents.

Now the purpose of this exercise is not to be rude or objectionable, or turn what is a serious issue into a party political football - the purpose is to ask politicians 'where they stand' and what they are doing to support the people they represent.

So go to it Glasgow - keep your cool, remain reasonable and refuse to be fobbed off.

Bob Doris MSP for Maryhill and Springburn

Joint advice surgery with @AllanCasey89 earlier. Was good to catch up with Cllr Casey on Royston/ Germiston matters also @Maryhill_SNP\



Mark Irvine
Did you discuss Glasgow City Council’s behaviour over Emergency Weather Payments, by any chance?

  

The Quiet Bunch (16/06/18)



I sent the following message to Glasgow MSPs and MPs via Twitter the other day, in an effort to rally support from the city's politicians in the ongoing fight for equal pay. 

Mark Irvine
What do the politicians - Councillors, MSPs and MPs - have to say about the fact that some workers are being treated as 'second class' members of the Glasgow City Council Family?

Now I think it's perfectly fair to point out that Home Carers who battled through the 'Beast from the East' to support their vulnerable clients are being treated as 'second class citizens' compared to other members of the Glasgow 'Council Family'.

But there's not been much of a response from Glasgow's MSPs and MPs which I find rather odd - not one question, comment, Like or Retweet - so far at least.

Yet the city's MSPs have lots to say about other issues and here's a random sample of what they were Tweeting and Retweeting about yesterday.

Lots of topical and important subjects for sure, but not a word about the shameful treatment of Glasgow Cordia workers and is you ask me, this 'lack of engagement' from the politicians is something the claimants are going to have to address in the weeks ahead.

Nicola Sturgeon
First Minister opens Meet the Researchers, a community science day organised by Glasgow Caledonian University held at The Barn Youth and Community Centre in the Gorbals.



Sandra White

What justification could have for objecting to being made a criminal offence? I hope he might come on to explain to us all why he derailed a bill preventing people taking pix up women's skirts...


Ivan McKee

Pleased to get the chance to thank the massive crowd who turned out today in solidarity with our MPs and to support the message Hands Off Our Parliament after the week's extraordinary goings on in Westminster


Humza Yousaf

To all my fellow Muslims celebrating across the world - Eid Mubarak for tomorrow! Enjoy your day folks



Bill Kidd
Active Seniors Day in the Park 2018 via



Bob Doris

I raised issue of unhealthy fast food shops near schools whilst seeks 2 promote healthy food in schools



John Mason

Pretty fabulous production of 'High School Musical' School, Coatbridge. Great singing, acting, and dancing by pupils. Well supported by staff. Great atmosphere. One of their best shows yet.



James Dornan
Great crowd full of optimisim and energy today at the Scottish Parliament. Delighted to show them my support.


  

Glasgow's Councillors, MSPs and MPs



Earlier today I sent a copy of my 'We Are Family' - 'Are We Family?' blog post to all Glasgow Councillors, MSPs and MPs.

What do the politicians - Councillors, MSPs and MPs - have to say about the fact that some workers are being treated as 'second class' members of the Glasgow City Council Family? 

A quick look on Facebook and Twitter will show you that Glasgow's politicians have lots to say, on a daily basis, on all kinds of topical issues in their local constituencies and beyond.

So let's see what they have to say about the latest revelation about Glasgow pay arrangements for the second class members of the City Council 'Family'.

I've have re-published below contact email addresses for Glasgow's constituency MSPs and MPs and here is a link to the City Council which will allow readers to find an email address and contact details for their local councillors: 
https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=17759

Keep me posted on any responses you receive - good, bad or indifferent - and bear in mind that you have every reason to expect help and support from your Councillors, MSPs and MPs.

So don't be fobbed off and ask what they are prepared to do on your behalf.  

  

Glasgow's MSPs and MPs (01/05/18)



Here are the email addresses for Glasgow's 15 constituency MSPs and MPs which readers can use to raise issues and ask for support in the ongoing fight for equal pay with Glasgow City Council.  

Now I would just ask politicians if they support equal pay, because they all say they do even when there is little visible sign of support - or 'close engagement' as some might say.

So I would raise specific issues or questions which put the politicians on the spot to explain where they stand on:
  1. Replacing the City Council's discredited WPBR pay scheme which has been condemned as 'unfit for purpose' by Scotland's highest civil court, the Court of Session
  2. Introducing a new Job Evaluation scheme which is open, transparent and commands the support of the workforce
  3. Ending the WPBR's 37 hour 'rule' which was designed to disadvantage the City Council's largely female workforce
  4. Apologising for the creation of Cordia which has treated thousands of Home Carers and other staff as second class citizens for years 
  5. Condemning the less favourable treatment of women workers in relation to overtime working and holiday pay
  6. Demanding openness and transparency over the introduction of the WPBR and the role played by the City Council's senior officials
If people keep me posted about how they get on, I'll share their experiences  on the blog site - good, bad or indifferent.

Glasgow MSPs (Scottish Parliament)

Glasgow MPs (Westminster Parliament)
David.Linden.mp@parliament.uk
Paul.Sweeney.mp@parliament.uk
Carol.Monaghan.mp@parliament.uk