Friday, 19 October 2018

Glasgow - Talking the Talk

Here's what Glasgow City Council leader, Susan Aitken, had to say to the media back in January 2018 after the Council agreed, on a cross-party basis, not to appeal the Court of Session decision which condemned the WPBR pay scheme as 'unfit for purpose'.

“We need to send a strong message to our lower paid female employees that we value the crucial work that you do, and we believe you should be paid equally for it compared to others doing similar work.

“Our equal pay negotiations will assess claims, set comparators and determine if compensation is due. This is a complex process which will take time to complete but all parties are willing and this is the right way for us to resolve this.”

More than 10 months later and after 21 meetings with senior council officials the issue of comparators has still not been resolved - and the Council has failed to deliver the serious negotiations that were promised.

Which has why thousands of equal pay claimants are going on strike next week in the first strike of its kind in Glasgow and in the entire history of Scottish local government.


Glasgow Makes History (15/10/18)

Stefan Cross shared this post on Facebook the other day and it is a perfect illustration of what the Claimants' Representatives are up against in their dealings with the City Council's senior officials.

Now this misleading information is attributed to the Council Leader, Susan Aitken, and if you ask me it's fair to assume that this business about comparators is being 'spun' by someone in the chief executive's office.   

With people behaving like this it's hardly surprising the settlement process has broken down, yet the politicians keep insisting that senior council officials are operating under their direct instructions.

No wonder Glasgow City Council is facing the first equal pay strike in its history on the 23rd and 24th October 2018?



Several of you have pointed to a reply from a Cllr suggesting that agreement had been reached on many comparators. Not even close - no agreement has been reached on anything.

What she actually said was “many comparators had been accepted”.

Did you see that trick. I bet many of you thought ‘accepted’ was the same as agreed. But oh no. It’s something completely different.

So back in May we made an offer to the council to settle identifying named comparators in identified male jobs and with a calculated loss. So 3 elements - job/named man/calculation. We identified comparators for the biggest 24 jobs for both protection and post protection.

The council didn’t respond.

Then a couple of weeks ago they presented us with a single sheet of paper listing the claimant jobs and the suggested comparators marked accept or reject. As usual this was simply produced at the meeting but with no explanation and no negotiations.

Out of 24 claimants jobs they ‘accepted’ 7 of our nominated comparators. I don’t think 7 is ‘many’ but that might just be me.

Does that mean that comparators are agreed for those jobs.
Nope because the council also said that even for those 7 jobs they didn’t accept our named comparator. Again no explanation, no nominated alternative and no negotiations.

Did they accept our methodology? Nope.

Now this is important because if you change the methodology you might change the comparators. Almost with perfect timing they then suggested that to get paid for the ludicrous 37 hour rule we must nominate a comparators that gets nswp. (We don’t agree this and there have been no negotiations on the point, but it’s something they suggested very recently). Guess what, most of the jobs they claim to have ‘accepted’ don’t get nswp. Sly aren’t they.

So that ‘many comparators have been accepted’ turns into 7/24 nominated jobs, but none of the men you named and no agreement on how to calculate loss even if we did agree them. And no negotiations on any of it. But hey I’m sure they just forget to mention all of that when they briefed councillors. They weren’t misleading them. Not at all.

Stefan Cross

Glasgow - Incorrect, Partial and Misleading (14/10/18)

Here's a letter from an Glasgow councillor which claims, amongst other things, that "many (equal pay) comparators have been accepted and others will be negotiated".

Now these words are attributed by Councillor Ballantyne to the Council Leader Susan Aitken which is very odd because it's completely untrue to say that any of the comparators have been agreed.

Comparators are just one part of a complex equal pay jigsaw which requires lots of other factors to be taken into account before any final agreement can be reached - such as the level of NSWP payments, for example.

The Claimants Side put forward comparator proposals months ago, back in May, covering all claimant jobs but the majority have still to receive any response from the Council - including the proposed comparators for the Home Carers and other large claimant groups.

The factual position is that serious negotiations over male comparators have not even begun and after all this time the ball is still stuck in the Council's court which is why all the cases are going back to the Employment Tribunal and why Glasgow City Council is facing the first equal pay strike in the history of Scottish local government.   

So it's completely ludicrous to say that:

"Effective action from the unions over the past 12 years could have resolved this issue and questions must be raised here." 

The issue of comparators could and should have been resolved months (not years) ago, but this can only be achieved if both sides get down to 'brass tacks' and so far the Council has refused to do what it promised to do months ago.

I will pass a copy of this blog post on to Cllr Ballantyne, but I presume this briefing information is coming directly from the Council's chief executive's office which is worrying - because it is incorrect, partial and deliberately misleading.