Saturday, 6 October 2018

First Minister and Equal Pay

The SNP are in town this weekend with the party's 2018 conference being held at the SEC (Scottish Event Campus) in Glasgow. 

I'll be interested to hear what Nicola Sturgeon, and other delegates, have to say about the fight for equal pay in Glasgow City Council. 

Last year the First Minister, a local Glasgow MSP, threw her political weight behind a fair settlement of the outstanding equal pay claims which was very welcome, but the devil has been in the detail ever since.

Sadly, after 10 months and 21 separate meetings with senior council officials the 'serious negotiations' that were promised have never materialised which means the claimants are heading back to the Employment Tribunals and, in just two weeks time, Glasgow faces the prospect of an 'equal pay' strike, for the first time in the history of Scottish local government.

I know that some of Nicola's local constituents (equal pay claimants) are meeting with her later this week to make their case which is summed up perfectly in this email which was sent to me yesterday.     

Hopefully the fact that 98% of us have voted to strike will make some people sit up and say - wow there's something seriously wrong here!


The fact is that Glasgow's equal pay claimants are not hell bent on striking for just any old reason - they want to be treated with dignity and respect, instead of being patronised and bullied by senior council officials who failed to look after their interests in the first place.

So Glasgow City Council now has two weeks to put in place the 'serious negotiations' that were promised months ago.


First Minister and Equal Pay (10/10/18)

Well Nicola Sturgeon certainly delivered the goods in her leader's speech to the SNP conference earlier today.

Here's what the MSP for Glasgow Southside had to say although let me add that the First Minister's words were also delivered with real passion and conviction.

"For decades, Glasgow has been run by Labour.

In May, that came to an end.

The cronies and time-servers are out.

Fresh ideas, Susan Aitken and the SNP are in.

The difference is already clear.
Under Labour, a bitter school janitor dispute rumbled on for months. 

Within weeks, it was resolved by the SNP.

For years, under Labour, women were denied the equal pay they are entitled to.


It may take us a bit of time to fix Labour’s mess, but I make this promise today.

Fix it we will.

The injustice suffered by low paid women in this city will be put right.

Equal pay for equal work, denied for too long, will be delivered by the SNP."

Now it's been a long hard fight to get where we are today and, at times, it certainly did feel as if the bosses, bullies and bureaucrats would get their way.

So I won't be mothballing the A4ES campaign or standing down my blog site anytime soon because the job's not done until it's done - which means a settlement of all the outstanding equal pay claims. 

Nonetheless, the First Minister's words are bold and unequivocal and for that Nicola Sturgeon, Susan Aitken and the SNP all deserve great credit. 

The task now is to get down to serious negotiations on how to best deliver equal pay for work of equal value in Glasgow which was, of course, the original intention of the landmark Single Status (Equal Pay) Agreement in 1999.

For this to happen City Council officials need to come clean about the WPBR pay scheme and how it has 'looked after' the interests of traditional male jobs over the past 10 years.

And if there are any 'cronies or time-servers' who are tempted to frustrate this process, my advice is to get out of the way while you still can - because the winds of change seem to be blowing through the corridors of Glasgow City Council at long last.


Glasgow and Equal Pay (10/10/17)

I happen to be near a TV this afternoon so I am going to listen to Nicola Sturgeon's speech to the SNP's 2017 annual conference which is being held in Glasgow - the First Minister's political backyard.

No doubt this will be a wide ranging speech, but I will be interested to hear if the First Minister mentions the fight for equal pay in Glasgow City Council which has been raging for the past 10 years.

I certainly hope the issue comes up because Glasgow is the First Minister's political backyard and if you ask me, the thousands of low paid women council workers who have been cheated and robbed of their rights for years deserve the active support of their local MSPs and MPs.  


First Minister and Equal Pay (07/10/17)

I've had lots of feedback to my recent posts about the First Minister and equal pay - here are just a few examples.

"Tweet sent"

"I sent Nicola Sturgeon an email and a group of us are going to ask her for a meeting"

"I’ve already sent one to her last month and the reply I got was basically it’s up to individual councils how they deal with it!"

"I got one saying that too ... disgrace"

Now the point of the exercise is not to make impossible or unreasonable demands of the City Council or Nicola Sturgeon, either as a Glasgow MSP or as First Minister.

But the fact of the matter is that the City Council is still refusing to come clean and explain how the interests of the bonus earning male groups were 'looked after' under the WPBR pay scheme.

And if you ask me, that's a national disgrace especially as we're talking about Scotland's largest and best resourced council which has cheated and robbed low paid women workers of their rights to equal pay for years.

No one is asking the First Minister, the Scottish Government or Glasgow MSPs to take control of the City Council - all that's being asked is that local politicians raise their voices and speak out about this terrible secrecy and refusal to shine a light on Glasgow's furtive pay arrangements.

I am absolutely prepared to accept that the new SNP led City Council is genuine about its desire to reach a negotiated settlement of the outstanding equal pay claims, but the evidence suggests that this mindset is not exactly shared by senior officials.  

Glasgow City Council, of course, is quite entitled to ask Audit Scotland for practical assistance and presumably the Scottish Government would have no problem in supporting such a move, especially as the council is having such difficulty in getting its finger out

Individuals employees with equal pay claims going back 10 full years could ask that Audit Scotland (Scotland's public spending watchdog) gets directly involved, but this request would carry much more weight if it were supported by local councillors, MSPs, MPs, the First Minister and so on.

So sending a message to the First Minister seems perfectly reasonable and sensible in all the circumstances, all the more so if you agree that Glasgow's behaviour over the past 10 years is a national disgrace. 

And if you ask me, it's high time Glasgow's MSPs rose up and really started getting behind their local constituents in this long-running fight for equal pay.


Messaging the First Minister (06/10/17)

The SNP's 83rd annual conference gets underway this weekend at the SEC Centre in Glasgow and will hear from Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, a local Glasgow MSP for the 'Southside' constituency. 

Glasgow City Council (Scotland's largest local authority) has a largely female workforce who  have been cheated and robbed their rights to equal pay for years which is a national disgrace, if you ask me.

The new SNP led administration has pledged to sort this mess out, but the Council's WPBR pay arrangements are still shrouded in secrecy despite being described as 'unfit for purpose' by the Court of Session, Scotland's highest civil court.

So why not send a message to the First Minister, via email or Twitter, calling on Glasgow City Council to commit itself to openness and transparency over equal pay:

Please highlight the fight for equal pay at SNP 2017 and urge Glasgow City Council to 'come clean' over its WPBR pay scheme?

Readers can send a message to Nicola Sturgeon at the Twitter address below or via email 



As a Glasgow voter and council taxpayer I will be messaging the First Minister this weekend and I hope that lots of readers, and their families, will do so as well.

'People make Glasgow' after all and the more who get involved in this campaign the better.