Sunday, 17 February 2019

Party On, Dudes!



I have not had the time to get involved in the Facebook conversation about the arrangements for Glasgow's Big Equal Pay Party on Saturday 6th July 2019.

But let me explain a few things surrounding the choice of the date which was driven by:
  • the need to hold the event around the time of the settlement period which is planned for June 2019 
  • the need to find a large, suitable and available venue in or around the centre of Glasgow
  • the need to ensure that certain individuals were available to attend - Stefan Cross, for example 
  • the need to find someone to organise everything which requires considerable time and effort - Me, for example 
I am just about ready to share the details of the venue, but no other suitable venue was available in June which is why Saturday 6th July has been chosen.

Just like any other big event - an important birthday, a retirement party or a wedding etc - it is impossible to get a day and a date that suits absolutely everyone.

But maybe we can use our experience of the equal pay campaign to help get round the problem for those who are scheduled to be working that night - because there are bound to be people who don't want to attend, for one reason or another.

Now the questions I would ask are:

  • How many employees definitely want to attend the event, but are due to be working on 6th July?
  • Are there employees who don't definitely don't want to attend but would be willing to 'swap' their shift?
  • How do we put these employees in touch with one another?
  • Can we persuade the Council to help out by agreeing to take on extra agency staff for that night?

So let's see what we can do though just like all the equal pay activities over the past couple years there are lots of competing issues at work - and it's impossible to satisfy all of the people all of the time.

  



Party On, Dudes - Save the Date! (15/02/19)



The details of Glasgow's big Equal Pay party are still being finalised, but I thought I'd give everyone as much notice as possible of the date which is:

Saturday 6th July 2019

So save the date, clear your social calendar, book the baby sitter and look out your dancing shoes - because it's going to be a great night.

More details to follow.

  

Party On, Dudes! (14/02/19)



I hope to have some definite news this week on the arrangements for Glasgow's big Equal Pay party. 

Now it will be impossible to satisfy everyone, for obvious reasons, but we'll do our best to come up with a suitable date, time and venue - everything else should take care of itself.

So watch this space - some suggested songs and singers for the Karaoke session coming up soon.

  


Party On, Dudes! (21/01/19)



I've had lots of lovely messages from readers ever since the big news about Glasgow was announced and one suggestion that keeps coming up is:

"How about organising an event to celebrate our success?"

Now as everyone knows Glaswegians love to party, especially Glasgow women and if you ask me, here are some absolute essentials for a great night out.

Lively, fun-loving guests - done!
A good venue - to be confirmed (tbc)
Music and dancing - with a DJ? (tbc)
Karaoke - with some 'star' turns (tbc)
A well run bar - licensed, of course (tbc) 
Food - might be tough, but go for it! (tbc)

So if readers have any ideas, do please drop me a note at - markirvine@compuserve.com - because I am going to start making enquiries on these various fronts.

I am also going to propose some singers and topical songs for the Karaoke session which should be hilarious, so join in the fun with your own suggestions - the more outrageous the better!   

 

Questions and Answers


I missed all the excitement on Facebook yesterday about the Council's settlement offers, the JES and 'Why aren't we getting our Equal Pay as of yesterday?'.

Now the reason for this is that I had a very busy day and other important things to do, but if I had the chance I would have posted something like:
  • Lots of these questions have been explained previously on my blog site. For example, why the new JES is taking so long to introduce - until 2021 possibly
  • I don't have enough hours in the day to write a new answer every time someone can't be bothered to keep up with what's already been explained on my blog - or elsewhere for that matter
  • Moaning or complaining doesn't help - not least because we're all doing our level best to get everything done as quickly as possible
  • More advice about the settlement process is being prepared all the time, as I write in fact  
So 'lighten up' Facebook users and if you've got a point to make, try and be positive rather than negative, as this always helps.

More to follow soon.  


  

Questions and Answers (14/02/19)


Karl and his team in the A4ES office continue to receive lots of telephone enquiries from people who ask:

"How far does my equal pay claim go back?"

Now I explained this in some detail in a previous post which I am publishing again below because responding to these phone queries takes up lots of valuable time, especially when Karl and his team have other important things to be getting on with.


So unless claimants have a very urgent question or issue, please don't ring the A4ES office - you can check your own client information online at: www.a4es.co.uk - the important thing is to ensure is that your personal and contact details are up to date.

But just remember that no one's equal pay can go back in time beyond 01 January 2007 - no one's claim can jump back more than 5 years - and the clock only starts ticking only once a claim has actually been registered.


  

Questions and Answers (31/01/19)



I said I would provide a more detailed explanation on this business of calculating the length of an equal pay claim.

1) The settlement period starts from January 2007 because this is the year when the WPBR was originally introduced - so no one can go back beyond January 2007.

2) The end date of the settlement period has still to be agreed with Glasgow City Council, but this will be somewhere between 31 March 2017 to 31 March 2018.

3) Claims already registered in January 2007 continued to 'add on' time going forward until the agreed settlement date,  so long as the claimants remained employed with Glasgow City Council.

4) If a claimant left the Council's before the agreed settlement date, their claim goes up to the last day of their employment with GCC.

5) If a claim was registered after January 2007, the claim can jump back in time for a maximum of 5 years - assuming the claimant had 5 years service at the time.

6) For example, a claim registered in January 2012 would jump back to January 2007 - and would also start to 'add on' time going forward from January 2012 up to the agreed settlement date.

7) Any claims registered later than January 2012 cannot go all the way back to the beginning because the '5 year rule' is laid down by Scots law and applies to all Glasgow equal pay cases. 

8) The period beyond the settlement date has still to be resolved in future discussions with Glasgow City Council since the WPBR is still in operation in 2019 and will not be replaced for some time, possibly in 2021.

9) Let's assume the WPBR is replaced on 31 March 2021 and that the current settlement date goes up to 31 March 2018 - this leaves a 3 year 'gap' period period which is not covered by the current settlement agreement and may result in GCC employees pursuing additional equal pay claims in 2021.

I hope this makes sense, but I'm happy to give it another crack if anything is less than clear.

The key points are that the equal pay 'clock' only starts ticking once a claim has actually been registered and the maximum period of any claim is 12 years - assuming a settlement date of 31 March 2018.

  

A4ES - Checking Your Details

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/5febe3f9d00fdc0359aca075a/images/b3accdec-bd2b-4dc3-8750-419f1831d763.png

Lots of readers from Glasgow have been in touch recently to check on the status of their equal pay claims with Action 4 Equality Scotland (A4ES) and/or to update their personal details on the A4ES records system.


You can now check things for yourself and update your personal details, as necessary, via the following link to the A4ES web site: www.a4es.co.uk
Click the  button on the Home page. You will be prompted to enter your National insurance Number (NI No:) and Password (Please note that neither your NI No: or Password can include any spaces, in addition you Password is case sensitive so you will need to enter the correct capital and lower case letters. 

If you do not know your password you can click the Forgotten Password link, this will prompt you for your NI No: Complete this field and select the Reset Password Button. You will then be sent an email with your password to the email address we have on record for you. (Please make sure to check your junk or spam emails if you have not received the email)

If your personal records need updating, you can either send us an email to: enquiries@action4equality.co.uk or you can select the edit button and advise of the amendments you wish to make.

In Your Guts, You Know He's Nuts!



In your guts, you know he's nuts!

Either that or someone in the White House slipped an 'acid tab' into Donald's Diet Coke.

  

In Loving Memory - Martha Daly


Here's a Facebook post from Stefan Cross which Remembers another Glasgow claimant - Martha Daly - who retired with ill health after working for the Home Care service for 30 years.

AND THE TRAGEDIES KEEP COMING

SAY A PRAYER FOR MARTHA DALY

I got this lovely message from her niece:

Martha Daly sadly passed away on the 11th February 2019. Lovely mother to teri and Darren.

Sadly missed by all the family and friends. Worked for home care for 30yrs until 2 years ago when she had to give it up due to health. R.I.P Auntie Martha back with your mum and dad xx

Martha was only 55.

Sadly she is THE FOURTH equal pay claimant to pass away in the last week.

It’s heartbreaking

My love and condolences to all who knew Martha


Stefan Cross

  

In Loving Memory (24/10/18)

One of the most powerful moments during yesterday's extraordinary March and Rally in support of equal pay was the minute's silence in Glasgow's George Square for all the claimants who have passed away since this dispute began back in 2006/07.

It is, quite simply, a scandal.

  

In Loving Memory (23/10/18)


Before Glasgow's March and Rally for Equal Pay gets underway later today (Tuesday) there will be a minute's silence for all of the claimants who have passed away since this long-running dispute began back in 2006/07. 

Here are Facebook posts from Stefan Cross 'Remembering' Glasgow claimants.

In Loving Memory - Mary Isbister


Before Glasgow's March and Rally for Equal Pay gets underway tomorrow (Tuesday 23rd) there will be a minute's silence for all of the claimants who have passed away since this long-running dispute began back in 2006/07. 

Here's a Facebook post from Stefan Cross which Remembers another Glasgow claimant - Mary Isbister 

MORE MEMORIES

The shocking thing about reminding ourselves about those that have passed still waiting, is how young so many of them.

TODAY RIP MARY ISBISTER 

Her daughter Michelle says

My lovely wee mum Mary Isbister
DOB: 25/11/1954
Passed away on: 27 May 2016

If my mum was still alive today she
two would have be out supporting the strike just like I will be. 💪

Shame on you Glasgow City Council you have dragged your feet on this pay claim for far too long that people have passed away waiting on your finger out. Pay everyone what they are due and settle this issue once and for all Glasgow.

#equal pay
#justice
# fight all the way lady’s 💪💪

”In memory of my lovely mum Mary Isbister ❤️

Thank you Michelle. 

Stefan Cross



In Loving Memory - Elaine Russell


Before Glasgow's March and Rally for Equal Pay gets underway tomorrow (Tuesday 23rd) there will be a minute's silence for all of the claimants who have passed away since this long-running dispute began back in 2006/07. 

Here's a Facebook post from Stefan Cross which Remembers another Glasgow claimant - Elaine Russell. 

ANOTHER TO REMEMBER - ELAINE RUSSELL

I got this message from another bereaved relative - DONNA BURNS

I’m so grateful to the relatives for allowing me to do this.

So RIP ELAINE. not forgotten.

Hi Stefan

I think it is great that you are including the women that have passed away in this fight for quality. I would like it if you can include my late mother. Elaine Russell ,home care co ordinator.

Born 25/5/1959 passed away 20/12/2014

My mother was a hard working woman who did all the hours to care for her family and to know that she was robbed of money that she was rightly owed is disgusting behaviour from GCC.

I hope that all my mum's colleagues and the rest of the woman out there get what is rightly theirs.


In Loving Memory - Margaret Gorman


Before Glasgow's March and Rally for Equal Pay gets underway tomorrow (Tuesday 23rd) there will be a minute's silence for all of the claimants who have passed away since this long-running dispute began back in 2006/07. 

Here's a Facebook post from Stefan Cross which Remembers another Glasgow claimant - Margaret Gorman 




MARGARET GORMAN - RIP
Shout to GORDON and his beloved wife Margaret. 
16 years as a home carer. 

She sadly passed away 5 YEARS AGO. This show the obscene delay in these cases. 

Home Carer - 01/07/1994 to 20/11/2010

DOB: 08/04/1952

Passed away on the 12/02/2013
Here is a message from her husband :
My name is Gordon Gorman , I have been representing my late wife through Stefan since my wife passed away while waiting for her claim for equal pay settlement along with her working colleagues. I'm more than happy for a photo of my late wife to be shown in respect to this matter and also in support of her colleagues who are still fighting for this while the council are stalling in settlement in my wife's case and others who have now passed away while waiting for a settlement. I know Margaret would be happy to support her working colleagues in any way that she could. As Margaret's husband and Executor I give you the authority to show her photo in support off her claim that is still waiting to be settled . 
Gordon Gorman

Thanks Gordon. 


In Loving Memory - Ann McCartney



Before Glasgow's March and Rally for Equal Pay gets underway tomorrow (Tuesday 23rd) there will be a minute's silence for all of the claimants who have passed away since this long-running dispute began back in 2006/07. 

Here's a Facebook post from Stefan Cross which Remembers another Glasgow claimant - Ann (Agnes) McCartney 

ANN MCCARTNEY RIP


Another incredibly young loss. Thanks to husband HUGH for sharing.

Agnes (Known as Ann) McCartney

Support for Learning worker – 19/12/2002 - 01/08/2014

DOB: 09/02/1957

Passed away in 2014

Comment from Husband Hugh McCartney
I find it astonishing that 12 years on from when the dispute began that Glasgow District Council have still to come to an agreement when other Councils have already settled their claims.


Agnes or Ann as she was called by everyone was one of the first to back the equal pay claim and also encouraged others to do the same.

She would be turning in her grave now to find that 4 years after her death, this claim has not been settled and that the council are still dragging negotiations out.

This is a scandal and Glasgow District Council should be ashamed of themselves.


Stefan Cross

In Loving Memory - Maureen McDonald


Before Glasgow's March and Rally for Equal Pay gets underway tomorrow (Tuesday 23rd) there will be a minute's silence for all of the claimants who have passed away since this long-running dispute began back in 2006/07. 

Here's a Facebook post from Stefan Cross which Remembers Maureen McDonald. 

Whilst the council scaremongers about the risk to clients

Let’s remember those claimants who have actually passed and whose families still wait for justice.

Let’s remember:

The late Maureen McDonald

DOB: 24/04/1958

Passed away on: 15 March 2015

Catering Manager 01/04/1998 to 25/06/2011

Comments from Husband Charles McDonald

”In memory of my late wife Maureen McDonald I would like to add my support to the cause for equal pay. The City Council have dragged their feet on this pay claim for far too long. Pay the lassies what they are due and settle this issue once and for all Glasgow.”

Thank you Mr. McDonald. We will keep on fighting for you.

And thank you for the great photo.

RIP Maureen.

We will keep up her memory and many others like her.

Stefan Cross

Call the Midwife!



Theresa May's warm letter to Jeremy Corbyn says the Labour leader agrees with her that the UK should leave the EU and that Parliament should not seek a second referendum or a 'People's Vote' on the final terms of any Brexit Deal.

I imagine this will infuriate lots of Labour Party members and supporters who can see that Jeremy Corbyn is now showing his true colours having been a lifelong critic of the UK's membership of the European Union. 




  

Dear Jeremy,

Thank you for your letter of 6 February. It is good to see that we agree that the UK should leave the European Union with a deal and that the urgent task at hand is to find a deal that honours our commitments to the people of Northern Ireland, can command support in Parliament and can be negotiated with the EU - not to seek an election or second referendum. My visit to Northern Ireland this week underlined to me what is at stake.

In that light, I am grateful to you for meeting me last week, for your letter setting out your position in more detail and for the offer of further discussions. Whilst the issues you raised in your letter are best dealt with in those discussions, I thought it would be helpful to briefly set out our position in writing.

When we met, you outlined your concerns about the possible indefinite nature of the backstop, concerns which you repeated publicly afterwards. I hope you will therefore agree with me that seeking alternative arrangements to the current backstop is a necessary step to finding a deal that can command support in Parliament. One of the things I would like our teams to discuss is the exact nature of those alternative arrangements.

However, this is not the only action the Government is taking to find a deal that commands support in Parliament. We intend to give Parliament a bigger say in the mandate for the next phase of the negotiations to address concerns that - because the Political Declaration cannot be legally binding and, in some areas, provides for a spectrum of outcomes - MPs cannot be sure precisely what future relationship it would lead to. We have also made commitments on workers' rights and environmental protections and we are examining opportunities to provide further financial support to communities that feel left behind.

Turning to the changes to the Political Declaration you would like to see:

As I explained when we met, the Political Declaration explicitly provides for the benefits of a customs union - no tariffs, fees, charges or quantitative restrictions across all sectors and no checks on rules of origin (paragraph 23). However, it also recognises the development of the UK's independent trade policy beyond our economic partnership with the EU (paragraph 17). I am not clear why you believe it would be preferable to seek a say in future EU trade deals rather than the ability to strike our own deals? I can reassure you that securing frictionless trade in goods and agri-food products is one of our key negotiating objectives (for precisely the reasons you give - protecting jobs that depend on integrated supply chains and avoiding a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland). The fundamental negotiating challenge here is the EU's position that completely frictionless trade is only possible if the UK stays in the single market. This would mean accepting free movement, which Labour's 2017 General Election manifesto made clear you do not support.
The EU have said that the deal provides for the closest relationship possible outside the single market. The Political Declaration sets out clear arrangements for dispute resolution (paragraphs 132-135). I am not sure what exactly you mean when you say “shared institutions and obligations” but our teams can explore that.

I have always been clear that Brexit should not be at the expense of workers' rights or environmental protections. However, the Government does not support automatically following EU rules in these areas because, given their importance, we believe these decisions should be taken in our Parliament by our elected representatives. We have, however, made legally-binding commitments to no regression in these areas if we were to enter the backstop (Annex 4 of the Northern Ireland Protocol to the Withdrawal Agreement), intend to build on these commitments in the future relationship (paragraph 79 of the Political Declaration) and are prepared to consider legislating to give these commitments force in UK law. In the interests of building support across the House, we are also prepared to commit to asking Parliament whether it wishes to follow suit whenever the EU changes its standards in these areas. And of course we don't need to automatically follow EU standards in order to lead the way - as we have done in the past under both Conservative and Labour Governments.

The Government supports participation in EU programmes in a number of areas as set out in paragraph 11 of the Political Declaration. We also want the closest possible relationship with EU agencies in the heavily regulated sectors, subject to us being outside the single market, and such co-operation is reflected as a shared aim in paragraph 24 of the Political Declaration.

The Government shares your ambition in relation to security arrangements. We have secured agreement on the exchange of Passenger Name Record, DNA, fingerprint and vehicle registration data (paragraph 86 of the Political Declaration) and on arrangements akin to the European Arrest Warrant to surrender suspected and convicted persons efficiently and expeditiously (paragraph 89) as well as a commitment to consider the exchange of data on wanted or missing persons or objects and criminal records (paragraph 87). The negotiating challenge here is the EU's position that, as a third country outside of the Schengen area and without free movement, there are restrictions on the UK's ability to participate in some EU tools and measures. The Government does not believe it would be in the interests of either the UK or the EU and its Member States to see a reduction in joint security capabilities. Labour's support for this position going into the next phase will I hope send a powerful signal that the EU should reconsider its stance.

I look forward to our teams meeting as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,


Theresa May