Here's the latest 'Message from Annemarie' announcing to the council workforce that, at long last, a new pay and grading scheme has been approved for Glasgow City Council.
Now I know a lot about this subject because one of the last things I did, back in the late 1990s, in my role as Unison's Head of Local Government in Scotland was to agree a 'bespoke' job evaluation scheme (JES) which the trade unions and COSLA jointly recommended all 32 Scottish councils to use as part of the 1999 Single Status (Equal Pay) Agreement.
The Scottish Joint Council JES cost a whacking great £250,000 to develop and individual councils had to chip in with their share which in Glasgow's case was around £25,000 if I remember correctly.
But Glasgow never used the Scottish Joint Council JES scheme and I presume on the advice of its senior officials (given that elected councillors certainly had no expertise in this area), the City Council took the fateful decision to devise its own, in-house' and ultimately disastrous WPBR scheme.
Fast forward to 2018 and Glasgow is now taking a decision which the Council should have taken 20 years ago - but at considerably more time, cost and public expense.
In the intervening period, the City Council's lowest paid workers, predominantly though not exclusively female, have been treated as 'second class citizens' for years, having lost out substantially both in terms of their pay and pension rights.
If you ask me, Glasgow's equal pay claimants are due a fulsome apology and this should come from the council's senior officials - not just the politicians - because it's obvious that highly paid, 'professional' officers bear a big share of the responsibility for this terrible mess.
Subject: New pay and grading scheme approved
New pay and grading scheme approved
In June the council agreed to abandon the Workforce Pay and Benefits Review pay and grading scheme and agree a suitable alternative, in consultation with trade unions and equal pay claimants’ representatives. Today the City Administration Committee approved the use of the Scottish Joint Council Job Evaluation Scheme, Third Edition. This scheme is used by the majority of Scottish councils.
The Job Evaluation Working Group, a sub-group of the Equal Pay Negotiating Group, made up of council officers, claimants’ representatives and trade unions prepared the recommendations for committee and you can read the full report here.
The group will now meet to develop a detailed implementation plan.
At this point, it is not possible to say what the effect of this new scheme will be on individuals. However we do know that everyone working for Glasgow City Council, excluding teachers, will be affected by this. This is because all jobs will need to be evaluated against the criteria in the new scheme and then appropriate grading and pay agreed and applied.
How we do the job evaluations will be agreed as part of the implementation plan. But I want to be clear with everyone that this won’t happen overnight and we won’t know how this affects everyone individually until the job evaluation process is complete.
I also want to remind you that the reason we are doing this is to make sure that everyone is paid equally for equal work in the future.
I will be in touch again to tell you all about the plan to implement the scheme. As part of the plan we will make sure that you have ways to give your views and find out information about the job evaluation process.
In the meantime you can send questions to ask Annemarie but do keep in mind that I can’t give any more details about individual circumstances.