Glasgow's chief executive Annemarie O'Donnell would have us all believe that a frugal approach is required in spending public money on settling the City Council's equal pay claims.
Yet, when it comes to defending Glasgow's 'unfit for purpose' WPBR pay scheme - money is no object apparently.
Read the full report via the link below to The Herald.
Council brings in barrister duo as equal-pay talks stall
By Margaret Taylor @MagsTaylorHT - The Herald
Members of trade unions the GMB and Unison campaign for an equal-pay settlement outside Glasgow City Chambers earlier this year.
GLASGOW City Council has bolstered its equal-pay legal team with specialist employment counsel ahead of the long-running dispute potentially being transferred back to the Employment Tribunal in the coming months.
Clyde & Co, which has been the local authority’s go-to law firm since acquiring its previous adviser Simpson & Marwick in 2015, has instructed Littleton Chambers silk David Reade QC as well as barrister Seamus Sweeney of north of England set Parklane Plowden.
Clyde & Co has instructed counsel after talks between the local authority and the representatives of 13,000 women making equal-pay claims against it fell apart last week. This happened after trade unions the GMB and Unison announced that their members would stage a 48-hour walk-out later this month.
While the council and unions held industrial-relations talks yesterday in a bid to avert strike action and get negotiations back on track, no agreement was reached.
Council chief executive Annemarie O’Donnell later wrote to the unions and law firm Action4Equality Scotland, which represents the majority of the women making a claim, indicating that the council is prepared to send the case back to the tribunal if talks continue to stall.
In response to the unions’ demand that all settlements are based on “entitlement rather than cost”, Ms O’Donnell said as the local authority will have to budget for its settlement “costs will need to be taken into account”.
“Clearly an ET [employment tribunal] could decide on legal entitlements,” she added.
Earlier this year the claimants’ representatives asked Daphne Romney QC of London set Cloisters and Scottish advocate Jonathan Mitchell QC of Anderson Marnot Advocates to prepare to take the case back to the tribunal as a precautionary measure.
A spokesman for the council said the authority had “agreed to jointly timetable potential hearings in the new year as a backstop, should negotiations fail to resolve any issues”. He added that the council “obviously hope[s] these dates are not required”.
However, Action4Equality’s Stefan Cross QC said that Ms O’Donnell’s letter “proves what we’ve been saying all along - despite the leader’s promises, the officials have no intention of settling this dispute and want to go back to tribunal”.
The negotiations that have been taking place since January were supposed to bring all these matters to a conclusion. While talks have broken down for now, both sides have indicated that they want them to resume, with the council spokesman noting that industrial relations talks are expected to continue later this week. Mr Cross said the claimants’ representatives “are ready for intensive but proper negotiations”.