Friday, 31 August 2018

Glasgow - The Pay Gap Explained



The case put forward on behalf of equal pay claimants in Glasgow is that the Council introduced a pay scheme (WPBR) which was designed to favour traditional male jobs by maintaining all the old pay hierarchies and pay differences.

Now this was achieved by manipulating various elements of the WPBR, to the disadvantage of female dominated jobs, for example the NSWP (Non Standard Working Pattern) part of the scheme which focuses on an employee's hours of work and shift patterns.


What happened, in essence, is that the Council invented new 'rules' for the NSWP in order to maintain the much higher, bonus-related earnings of traditional male jobs which are highlighted in the post below 'Why Glasgow's WPBR Sucks (3)'. 


The outcome is that many more men in the Council workforce receive significant NSWP payments than their female colleagues - even though women make up a big majority (70%) of the workforce in Glasgow.


What this means is that there are huge and unjustified differences in the way that male and female jobs are paid and in his recent interview with the BBC's Good Morning Scotland (GMS) programme, Stefan Cross explained the impact of the notorious 37 hour 'rule'.


The 37 hour 'rule' was introduced as part of the WPBR in January 2007 and resulted in a significant NSWP payment but only to staff contracted to work 37 hours or more - which conveniently excluded the vast majority of women employees, almost all of whom are contracted to 35 hours a week or less.


Many female council employees work more than 35 hours, of course, but the WPBR has been designed in such a way as to ensure that women workers, such as Home Carers, lose out big time compared to their male colleagues.


If a Home Carer was paid on the same basis as an equivalent (full-time) male comparator, such as Road Worker 4, the Home Carer would be around £4,000 a year better off.


So it doesn't take a genius to work out that thousands of women workers have lost out very substantially over the past 12 years.


The 37 hour 'rule' and the NSWP is just one part of the WPBR pay scheme, other issues are in dispute as well and require to be put right although it should be emphasised that senior council officials have been defending the WPBR for the past 12 years.


Regular readers will recall that the Court of Session, the highest civil court in Scotland, agreed with the Claimants and judged the WPBR to be 'unfit for purpose' in August 2017.


So agreeing the size of the 'pay gap' and which male comparators to use in calculating offers of compensation are absolutely crucial to a fair settlement of all the outstanding equal pay claims. 


Yet after 8 long months and 18 separate meetings with Council officials, there have been no meaningful negotiations to address these issues which is why strike action is on the cards and all of the outstanding equal pay claims are now heading back to the Employment Tribunals.  


  

Why Glasgow's WPBR Sucks (4) (22/02/18)


Here are some remarkable facts and figures about Glasgow's WPBR Pay Monster which was supposed to tackle the problem of widespread pay discrimination and unequal pay in the City Council's pre-WPBR pay arrangements.
  • 60.29% of men receive NSWP payments. 
  • But only 18.93% of women receive NSWP payments 
  • Yet women make up the great majority of Glasgow City Council's workforce - 69.5% - let's just call that 70% for the sake of simplicity. 
  • Quite unbelievably more than three times as many men (60.29%) receive NSWP payments compared to women 18.93%). 
  • But all things being 'equal' you would expect women to receive 70% of NSWP payments - in line with their share of the workforce. 
  • 70% of the total number of workers receiving NSWP = 60.29% + 18.93% = 79.22% x 70% = 55.45%. 
  • Yet instead of 55.45% of women being paid NSWP only 18.93% of the female workforce receive these payments. 
  • Again if all things were 'equal' the council's male workers would receive 30% of all NSWP payments or 60.29% + 18.93% = 79.22% x 30% = 23.77%. 
  • Yet instead of 23.77% of men being paid NSWP an eye watering 60.29% of the male workforce receive these payments. 
What does this say about the WPBR other than the fact the at the WPBR Pay Monsters is a complete joke?
If you ask me, the invented 'rules' of the WPBR have been deliberately designed to favour traditional male jobs which is why the Court of Session, Scotland's highest civil court, judged the pay scheme to be 'unfit for purpose'.

Surely it is indefensible for Glasgow City Council's most senior officials to continue backing this cockamamy scheme.


  

Why Glasgow's WPBR Sucks (3)












Just in case anyone thought that a Glasgow Road Worker enjoyed some great good fortune at the hands of the City Council's 'unfit for purpose' WPBR scheme - which resulted in a pay package worth more than £24,000 a year.

Here are several other traditional male jobs that were previously placed on a lower grade than a Home Carer, but which all leapfrogged over the Home Carers (who had previously been on a higher grade) as a result of the new, 'improved' and allegedly fairer WPBR pay arrangements.

The following examples are based on 2009 figures at the end of the WPBR protection period although the fact of the matter is that the higher pay of traditional male jobs continues to this day, i.e. into 2018.

Gardener 1 - £18,032
Home Carer - £16,300

Pay Difference - £1,732


General Labourer - £18,324
Home Carer - £16,300

Pay Difference - £2,024


Gravedigger - £21,201
Home Carer - £16,300

Pay Difference - £4,901

Gardener 4 - £21,803
Home Carer - £16,300

Pay Difference - £5,503


Road Worker - £24,208
Home Carer - £16,300

Pay Difference - £7,908

So what senior officials in Glasgow are inviting employees (and the public) to believe is that a whole raft of traditional, unskilled male dominated jobs which require no qualifications, all of a sudden fared a great deal better under a new 'improved' WPBR pay scheme - than the city's Home Carers.

Always remembering that the WPBR was introduced, supposedly, to address the problem of 'unequal pay' and the widespread pay discrimination in Glasgow City Council's pre-WPBR pay structures.
Does your head button up the back, Glasgow?

Does the council workforce have any confidence in the senior officials responsible for overseeing the WPBR process?

I suspect the answer to both of these questions is a resounding 'NO', but tune in again soon for - Why Glasgow's WPBR Sucks (4)

  

Coming Soon.....



Bear with me, but later today I plan to publish information which will help to explain:
  • the 'Pay Gap' in Glasgow City Council, i.e. the huge WPBR-inspired pay differences between traditional male and female council jobs 
  • examples of the potential male comparators that could be used to calculate offers of settlement to the equal pay claimants
And believe me none of this is 'rocket science' and if Glasgow City Council was really serious about finding a solution to this long-running pay dispute - it is pretty obvious that meaningful negotiations over the Pay Gap and Comparator Jobs would have got underway long before now. 

  

Breaking News - Glasgow 'Council Family' Update



Here is a copy of Annemarie O'Donnell's latest email to the Glasgow 'Council Family' along with my own thoughts (in caps and bold) on some of the key issues involved and what's really happening behind the scenes.

  

Subject: Equal pay: message from Annemarie O'Donnell, Chief Executive

In the last week you may have read coverage of the council’s position on equal pay.


THE CITY COUNCIL IS RATTLED BY THE SUCCESS OF THE CLAIMANTS' EQUAL PAY CAMPAIGN

This coverage was prompted in part by the publication of the Accounts Commission’s Best Value Report into GCC, and in part by the decision by UNISON and the GMB to move towards industrial action.


THE COUNCIL AND ITS SENIOR OFFICIALS HAVE BEEN GETTING A VERY BAD PRESS OF LATE - AND RIGHTLY SO

I am concerned that some of the public discussion about this may have given you an inaccurate impression of the work we are doing to settle these disputes and so the purpose of this note is to provide clarity.


I AM LOSING THE ARGUMENT HANDS DOWN SO I NEED TO SAY SOMETHING - IS MY JOB ON A SHOOGLY NAIL?

The first, and most important point to make is about timing.


THE COUNCIL HAS BEEN MOVING AT THE 'SPEED OF A GLACIER' FOR MONTHS - BUT PLEASE PUT THIS TO ONE SIDE

The Leader of the Council and I are committed to ensuring that all of our staff are paid appropriately compared with their colleagues. We are also committed to ensuring that where this has not been the case in the past, that people are compensated for that. Finally, we are both committed to reaching an agreement with the claimants and their representatives by negotiation rather than litigation.


THE COUNCIL LEADER AND I DISAGREE ON WHETHER THE WPBR IS 'UNFIT FOR PURPOSE', BUT WE ARE DESPERATELY TRYING TO PAPER OVER THE CRACKS

All parties agreed that a calendar year would be required to deal with the complexities of a negotiated equal pay settlement. That wasn’t imposed, that was agreed and was the considered view of the Claimants’ Representatives who have, after all, considerable experience in negotiations of this sort.


NO IT WASN'T, DON'T BE RIDICULOUS - NO ONE AGREED THAT SETTLEMENT TALKS HAD TO LAST A FULL CALENDAR YEAR

We have not reached the end of this process.


SERIOUS NEGOTIATIONS HAVE NOT EVEN GOT OFF THE GROUND - WHO ARE YOU KIDDING?

You may have read that the trade unions involved in these negotiations are balloting their members to consider industrial action in an attempt to force the council to speed up this process.


YES, BECAUSE THE COUNCIL HAS BROKEN PREVIOUS ASSURANCES TO NEGOTIATE IN GOOD FAITH 

I have to say in all honesty that we are moving as quickly as we possibly can. This means that regardless of whether industrial action is taken, the process will take the length of time agreed.


AFTER 8 MONTHS AND 18 SEPARATE SETTLEMENT MEETINGS NOT ONE SINGLE THING OF REAL SUBSTANCE HAS BEEN AGREED - OR IS IN THE PROCESS OF BEING AGREED 

We expect to respond to the claimants’ initial offer in December, and we expect to negotiate the details of that response through October and November with the Claimants’ Representatives. 


ARE YOU SERIOUS? HOW CAN THE COUNCIL RESPOND AT THE FAG END OF 2018 AND EXPECT AGREEMENT TO BE REACHED WITHIN A FEW DAYS?

I need to be clear that it has never been the intention that this be a ‘take it or leave it’ offer. It will, instead, have been arrived at following negotiations on the various elements that make up the claims and the council will be available to continue negotiations following submission of its response should the Claimants’ Representatives request that. It is likely that this part of the negotiating process will be both far more frequent and far more intensive than in the earlier part of the process.


WELL THAT'S NOT WHAT THE CLAIMANTS' SIDE SAY 

There are a few other points on which I think it is important to be clear.

· One of the first acts of the current Administration was to abandon any appeal route and instruct that negotiations were to commence aimed at reaching an agreed settlement of the outstanding Equal Pay claims. This was important because without this commitment matters could have dragged on for at least another 18 months to the Supreme Court, but for a number of years after then through Employment Tribunal. The Council committed to settling in a year; litigation would have taken at least four.


THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION ABANDONED ITS APPEAL BECAUSE IT LOST TWO UNANIMOUS DECISIONS AT THE COURT OF SESSION, SCOTLAND'S HIGHEST CIVIL COURT

THE ADVICE OF SENIOR OFFICIALS (WHO ARE STILL LEADING THE COUNCIL SIDE OF THE SETTLEMENT 'NEGOTIATIONS') WAS TO CONTINUE THE FIGHT TO THE UK SUPREME COURT

· In June, six months into the process, the council committed to abandoning its WPBR pay and grading system. This was noted and appreciated by the Claimants’ Representatives. It is no small matter because it requires the implementation, by agreement with the Trade Unions, of an alternative Job Evaluation system which will affect not just the claimants but all of the council’s employees.

THE COURT OF SESSION JUDGED THE WPBR TO BE 'UNFIT FOR PURPOSE' BACK IN AUGUST 2017

DOES THE COUNCIL'S CHIEF EXECUTIVE ACCEPT THE JUDGMENT OF SCOTLAND'S HIGHEST CIVIL COURT THAT THE WPBR PAY SCHEME DISCRIMINATES AGAINST THE COUNCIL'S LARGELY FEMALE WORKFORCE?

· The cost of settlement is unknown and cannot be known because it is subject to a negotiating process that is not complete. However, it is known that it will be at a level that dwarfs other council investment programmes. In August the Claimants’ Representatives were advised, by the Executive Director of Finance that good progress was being made in securing funding and that he was confident that sufficient funding would be secured to support a fair and reasonable settlement. This is important because the negotiation process would be futile if the council was unable to fund any settlement arrived at. But it also reveals the level of commitment of the council to deal with this matter because funding at this level will produce a financial burden that the council will have to address stretching years into the future.

THE COST OF SETTLEMENT IS UNKNOWN BUT IS BASED ON THE 'PAY GAP' BETWEEN TRADITIONAL MALE AND FEMALE JOBS - THE PAY GAP IS KNOWN AS ARE THE MALE COMPARATORS WHICH CAN BE USED TO DETERMINE OFFERS OF COMPENSATION

· A significant demand from the Claimants’ Trade Unions was that Cordia – the service where claimants are most heavily represented – be returned to the council and that terms and conditions be harmonised with the council. The council took a decision to do exactly that. Moving around 7,000 employees from one employer to another is a significant undertaking, but this will take place at the end of September.


THE COUNCIL MOVED STAFF OVER TO CORDIA IN A CYNICAL EFFORT TO ESCAPE ITS OBLIGATIONS ON EQUAL PAY

THE COUNCIL THEN TREATED CORDIA STAFF LIKE SECOND CLASS CITIZENS ON POORER CONDITIONS THAN THE REST OF THE COUNCIL WORKFORCE

THE CURRENT CHIEF EXECUTIVE (ANNEMARIE O'DONNELL) PLAYED A KEY ROLE IN THE CORDIA TRANSFER

· The council’s negotiators have consistently stated their commitment and determination to achieve a settlement in December of this year. This is consistent with the agreement that the council and the Claimants’ Representatives made at the very beginning of this process.

THE CLAIMANTS SIDE HAVE NEVER, EVER AGREED TO A LATE DECEMBER SETTLEMENT DATE

I am aware that this has been a frustrating process for people. However I am confident that this process of negotiation will be complete in as quick a time as possible, and far quicker than any other local authority of similar size to Glasgow has managed it.


THIS IS NONSENSE - GLASGOW'S SENIOR OFFICIALS BEEN DEFENDING THE WPBR FOR 12 YEARS EVER SINCE THE SCHEME WAS FIRST INTRODUCED IN 2007 

SETTLEMENT NEGOTIATIONS WITH BOTH NORTH LANARKSHIRE AND SOUTH LANARKSHIRE COUNCIL TOOK LESS TIME

Thank you for taking the time to read this and if you have any questions then please get in touch at ask Annmarie

PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU MAY NOT GET A STRAIGHT ANSWER - OR INDEED ANY ANSWER - TO A STRAIGHT QUESTION 

Regards,


Annemarie O’Donnell

Chief Executive

Glasgow - Bog Standard Replies



Bog standard replies are never a good look for senior officials or politicians for that matter, and here's a good example from the blog site archive to prove the point.

Of course, it just adds insult to injury if the person responding fails to answer the direct question they've been asked, in this case:

"Do you accept with the Court of Session's judgment that the Council's WPBR is 'unfit for purpose' and that the scheme discriminates against the Council's largely female workforce?"

  

Glasgow - Bog Standard Replies (21/05/18)



The daughter of one of Glasgow's equal pay claimants wrote a very personal and passionate letter to the leader of the Council about her mum's long fight for equal pay - and here's what Susan Aitken had to say in reply. 

This is the response my daughter has been given by Susan Aiken

I have been very consistent in saying from the outset of this process that settling an issue that has existed for over a decade would most likely take several months to complete. That is the view of ALL of the parties round the negotiating table – the Council, the trade unions and the private lawyers Action for Equality – and ALL of them agreed to schedule meetings until the end of this calendar year at least. That is a timetable that has been agreed since the beginning of the negotiations and was confirmed in the paper that was taken to Council committee to agree a halt to the litigation.

A process has been put in place to allow discussion and negotiation on each of the issues and that is ongoing. There has been considerable progress on several areas.

Claimants’ representatives, rightly, called for more political oversight over this process as this had been lacking over the past decade – and welcomed it when it was set up. This means that Council officers report in to both a group of senior SNP Councillors, and a cross-party group of Councillors about progress and take direction about the way to move forwards. This is the correct approach which will ensure we all get to where we want to in a manner which ensures that the settlement is fair.

There is a parallel process in place to address the issue of a new pay and grading scheme for the Council and the first meeting has taken place.

The SNP administration has consistently delivered progress on equal pay over the past year. When I became Leader of the Council, legal action was still ongoing; there was no negotiation process or even informal talks; and there was no commitment to harmonise terms and conditions for Cordia staff. Now, less than a year later, litigation by the Council has been halted by a unanimous vote of a Council committee; there are formal negotiating meetings taking place on a fortnightly basis and the Council negotiators also meet me and other senior councillors every two weeks; and we have budgeted and formally agreed to bring Cordia staff back into the Council and harmonise their terms and conditions.

I have been clear in my commitment to deliver pay justice for women council workers like your Mum since before the election and I continue to be so. The story of the past year has been one of steady progress towards a negotiated resolution, backed by the democratic process of the Council. This will continue over the coming months until a resolution to this long standing injustice has been found, and we have a clear way forward to ensure it never happens again.

Kind regards,


Councillor Susan Aitken
Leader of the Council
SNP Councillor for Langside

Now this is essentially the same 'standard' letter the leader's office has been churning out for weeks and I should know because I responded to its contents, point by point, in a post dated 3rd May 2018 which us reproduced below for easy reference.

I have to say I am shocked at the 'bog standard' nature of the Council leader's response, not just because it paints a very one sided picture of what has been going on in Glasgow, but because it's so completely dismissive of a young woman who has put such thought and effort into standing up for her mum.

Let's hope that, on reflection, Susan Aitken takes the time and trouble to write a nicer, more personal and considered reply.



  

Glasgow's Fight For Equal Pay (16/05/18)


Here's a fantastic letter that the daughter of a Glasgow equal pay claimant has written to Susan Aitken, Leader of the City Council, and Nicola Sturgeon, MSP for Glasgow Southside and Scotland's First Minister. 

Now this young woman clearly has a gift for words and I understand that she's still at school - where she's been studying women's rights and democracy, would you believe!

Well she has a very  bright future ahead of herself, if you ask me.

And I only hope the politicians are listening carefully to what she has to say - because her words and the passion of her argument over equal pay would put many a Glasgow council official, elected councillor, MSP and MP to shame.

Now that's what I call standing up and speaking out.

  

Hello, good day Mam.

This is the daughter of MC.

I was wondering if when I'm older this will effect my generation as I watch my mum complain about this it starts to annoy me even more knowing that my mum and loads of other mothers aren't getting payed the right wages all of yous act like its not a big thing when it clearly is.


As you see you are taking mothers and fathers away from there children as there parents have to do overtime so they can make decent wage to live, many mothers and fathers wish they could see there kids at night but sometimes in a day all in all I'm lucky if I see my mum for an hour because I come in the door then she's gone. 

Think back to when you were younger would you like it if you only saw your mum or dad for an hour if lucky? 

Anyways I would like to say get this sorted soon because before you know it they will all be out on strike and yous will have no one to turn back to but for now remind the council they have lost the battle and should just deal with it and give out the money they seem to be able to pay other council workers the right amount.

So why not pay our mothers and fathers the right wages. When at Christmas time your sitting with you kids and family having a lovely time while our parents have to rush there food just to watch there kids open a few presents while you sit there watching your kids the whole day having fun. 

Not complaining on the job my mum does because I know my mum likes her job just annoys me and probably a lot of other children my age that there mums and dads don't get payed the right wages for what they do. 

I know that you promised you would sort this for them as this was one of your manifesto commitments to sorting equal pay. 

I hope that you keep to your promise and get this sorted as I can't bear seeing my mum and other parents complaining and feeling let down by the leader yourself on witch you promised to sort I look forward to hearing from yourself.

Thank you for taking your time today to read this

Yours sincerely


MC's daughter

PS Since I wrote this post I hear that MC's daughter received a very disappointing reply in the shape of a 'standard' letter from the Council leader Susan Aitken. 

I've only had a very quick look at this letter, but it seems the same, or very similar, to one that the leader's office released several days ago. I'll have a more detailed search later today and have more to say on the blog soon.

Voting Underway!



A Glasgow equal pay claimant shares her Unison ballot paper and YES vote on Facebook.

  


Signed, Sealed and Delivered


Signed


Sealed 



And delivered

Yet another Glasgow claimant gets behind a YES vote in the equal pay strike ballot.

  

Action Speaks Louder Than Words (30/08/18)



Stefan Cross posted some comments on Facebook in response to the latest 'Council Family' email from Annemarie O'Donnell.

I'll be sharing my own thoughts on Annemarie's missive when I get a minute either later today or tomorrow.

In the meantime be in no doubt that the Council is rattled by the success of the Claimants' Equal Pay campaign, the trade union strike ballots that are now underway and the prospect of all the outstanding cases returning to the Glasgow Employment Tribunal on 25 September 2018.

As ever - actions peak louder than words.


SUDDENLY THEY WANT TO COMMUNICATE 

By now many of you will have received several emails

First, there has been a flurry of cllrs sending letters that are word for word the same as the one from SNP “Ritchie” last week, not that they were coordinated or anything. All the same mistakes and no clearer.

And now we have the Word from On High, with the email from the chief executive, Annmarie O’Donnell. This is a good sign as it means that they are paying attention to you for a change. (But you still need the strike ballot and as loud a YES as possible.)

So, some thoughts on her very long email. First, there are some good things. The commitment to a no take it or leave it offer is good, but no confirmation that offers will only be made through representatives, which is bad.

It’s true they abandoned their appeal to the Supreme Court, which was good, but it’s not true, as the Leader said, that they have abandoned the “legal challenge”. We fully expect they will be back in tribunal defending WBPR, NSWP (including the 37 hour rule amongst many others) EDC and all the CORDIA moves made by Labour. So far they have refused to discuss any of this with us. Yes, we are now promised “feedback “ on comparators but not negotiations, so those issues are heading to tribunal too.

It is not true we asked for a timetable of 12 months. All we asked was that meetings were timetabled for the year, just in case, and to avoid diary clashes. Amazing how that’s been spun. Definitely didn’t see that coming. However, it was agreed that there should be milestones in that process. Milestones the council officers never met and then abandoned, altogether.

And,of course, she completely fails to address the point that there has been zero negotiating in 9 months. They’ve even had our offer for 4 months now and still no response.

Then she says that they have agreed to move on from WPBR. That’s true. That’s good. But it was a commitment the officers refused,repeatedly, to put in the terms of reference (and is still not there). Dropping WPBR was a political decision the officers resisted. Further, WPBR still exists. Discrimination continues and will continue for at least 2 more years,probably 3 more years.

So two final points. First, the commitments AMO’D and Susan Aitken have made are good, but they are nowhere near being fulfilled. Second, all the commitments have been made because of you standing together, none of it has been a result of the “negotiations”, and that drastically needs to change.

So, once again, a lot of words from AMO’D but little substance imo.

As always I welcome your comments and feed back.


Stefan Cross

  

Breaking News - Glasgow 'Council Family' Update



Glasgow's top official, Annemarie O'Donnell, is fond of referring to the 'Council Family' and is always inviting family members to ask her questions about equal pay.

So here's one that an enterprising claimant put to Annemarie just the other day - a very fair question, if you ask me, about whether or not the Council's chief executive agrees (with senior elected councillors and the Court of Session) that Glasgow's WPBR pay scheme is 'unfit for purpose'.  

Dear Annemarie

Thank you for your email dated 28 August 2018.

I note the points you have made which go lots of detail without answering directly the question I raised which was:

Do you as the Council's chief executive accept the judgement of the Court of Session that the WPBR is 'unfit for purpose' and that the scheme discriminates against the Council's largely female workforce?

I think that Home Carers and other staff are entitled to a straight answer to a straight question.

Yours sincerely


Frances S

I will be interested to read Annemarie's reply and like everyone else I hope this will result in a 'straight answer to a straight question'.

  

Who Speaks for Glasgow? (29/08/18)



A number of readers have been in touch to say they have received an identical  answer from both Annemarie O'Donnell and Susan Aitken in response to enquiries about the Council's 'unfit for purpose' WPBR pay scheme.  

Now I believe that people have been asking broadly the same question along the following lines:

"Can you please confirm that Glasgow City Council accepts the judgment of the Court of Session that the WPBR is 'unfit for purpose' and that the scheme discriminates against the Council's largely female workforce?"

Here's an example of the answer that's come back in Annemarie O'Donnell's name, but I understand that an identical, or at least very similar, response is being sent out in Susan Aitken's name as well. 

Dear XXXXX 

Thank you for contacting me in relation to equal pay. 

I want to start at the outset by saying that the City Government, and Cllr Susan Aitken as the Leader, remain 100 per cent committed to delivering justice for equal pay claimants who have been waiting for over a decade for this long-running issue to end. 

We are currently in negotiations with claimants representatives and are seeking to have a settlement figure agreed with them by the end of 2018. No-one from either side has ever been under any illusion this process would be quick and easy. These negotiations have at times been difficult and the entrenchment of the competing positions which has been the case for over a decade cannot be undone overnight. 

Nonetheless significant progress, backed by the democratic process of the council, has been made. This progress includes, ending the legal challenge, putting political oversight in place, holding fortnightly formal negotiating meetings, bringing Cordia - where most of the affected staff are employed - back into the Council and harmonising their terms and conditions, and mostly recently the decision taken to replace the council’s entire pay and grading structure. 

All of the above have been asks of the claimant’s representatives and illustrate the continuing commitment that has been shown since the election to dealing with the long-standing work force issues which have underpinned this inequality. 

Furthermore, the process of sourcing how the council will fund the final settlement is now underway. 

The SNP group have always been clear that they don’t believe the council has been paying men and women equally for the work they do. We need to compensate women for years of underpaying them, and we need a new pay and grading system that rewards everyone fairly – that work is underway. 

I know the claimants’ representatives are frustrated by the difficulties this process regularly throws up, and can understand this. But the City Government remain committed, and will continue to ensure the good faith which has facilitated the massive strides we have collectively made continues, and that this long-running and complex matter is resolved as quickly as possible to the year-long timetable all parties agreed to at the beginning of the year. 

I hope this is useful in setting out our on-going commitment to settle equal pay. 

Regards 

Annemarie O'Donnell

Chief Executive Glasgow City Council  

So the obvious and very important point to make is that despite all the warm words the Council's most senior official fails to answer the point - instead she ducks the question entirely which speaks volumes about what is really going on.

Because after 8 long months of unproductive settlement negotiations the Council has failed to 'negotiate' on the crucial issues, e.g the Pay Gap and Male Comparators, and continues to defend key aspects of the WPBR even though the scheme has been judged to be 'unfit for purpose' by the Court of Session, Scotland's highest civil court.

Not only that, but the Council is now pursuing its own settlement proposals 'behind closed doors' and not in collaboration with the Claimants' representatives (A4ES, GMB and Unison) which is going back on what was agreed just a few short months ago.

Which explains why all the outstanding cases are heading back to the Employment Tribunals and also why the trade unions (GMB and Unison) are balloting members on strike action.

  


Who Speaks for Glasgow? (28/08/18)



Here's an interesting statement that just might have a significant impact on the fight for equal pay in Glasgow City Council.

"The whole issue arose out of the fact that the (WPBR) pay and grading scheme the Council has, has been found to discriminate against women, and we completely accept that it does." 

Now these words were spoken by Cllr Mhairi Hunter whom I have met previously to discuss Glasgow's equal pay dispute and who has accompanied Council Leader, Susan Aitken, to an equal pay meeting or two at the Dixon Halls in Govanhill.

I think I'm correct in saying that Mhairi also has a role as office manager in Nicola Sturgeon's parliamentary office which is located in the First Minister's Glasgow Southside constituency.

So back to what Mhairi said on Sunday about the Council's 'unfit for purpose' WPBR pay scheme via a local Glasgow TV programme, Full Scottish.

Mhairi's words are unequivocal and unambiguous- the City Council completely accepts that its WPBR pay scheme is discriminatory, a view which helpfully chimes with that of the Court of Session, the highest civil court in Scotland.

The only problem is that this is not the stance that has been adopted by the council's senior officials in 8 months of equal pay settlement 'negotiations' which have been taking place since the start of 2018.

Nor it it likely to the the position of the Council when all the outstanding equal pay cases go back to the Glasgow Employment Tribunal on 25 September, if 8 long months of unproductive settlement 'negotiations' are anything to go by.

So who has got it right - who is speaking plainly and who is speaking with a forked tongue?

What is Glasgow City Council's position when it comes to the WPBR - does the Council accept unequivocally that the scheme is discriminatory?

I think that claimants are entitled to ask this question of the Council Leader, Susan Aitken, and for the avoidance of doubt the Council's chief executive, Annemarie O'Donnell, as well.

If you'd like to email a question along the following lines to Susan Aitken and Annemarie O'Donnell, their respective email addresses are shown below.

Dear Susan/ Dear Annemarie

Glasgow's WPBR Pay Scheme

Can you please confirm that Glasgow City Council accepts the judgment of the Court of Session that the WPBR is 'unfit for purpose' and that the scheme discriminates against the Council's largely female workforce?"

Yours sincerely

A Glasgow Equal Pay Claimant

Susan Aitken's email address

Susan.Aitken@glasgow.gov.uk

Annemarie O'Donnell's email address:

annemarie.odonnell@ced.glasgow.gov.uk

  

By the way, Mhairi Hunter's full interview can be viewed via the link below to the Full Scottish and her comments on equal pay are about 6 minutes in.