Saturday, 9 February 2019

Bad, Mad, But Not Despondent



I am busy writing up my own account of the fight for equal pay in Glasgow City Council, but I thought I would share this post from the blog site archive which shows how far we've come in just a year - while dismissing any suggestion that everything just fell neatly into place.  

  

Bad, Mad, But Not Despondent (08/02/18)



Stefan Cross sets out his assessment of the situation in Glasgow City Council after the latest settlement discussions in which senior officials tried to throw their weight around and mount a last ditch defence of their discredited WPBR pay scheme. 

I've had lots of angry comments in response to yesterday's post 'Won't Get Fooled Again' which is good because Glasgow equal pay claimants have every right to be angry at the behaviour of officials who have done everything in their power over the past 10 years to circumvent people's right to equal pay.  


The task ahead is to channel this anger into activities which get our message across and hold the City Council to account.


Tomorrow (Friday) A4ES is holding a special briefing for all Glasgow's MSPs and MPs who have been invited to hear first hand about:

  • the background to the fight for equal pay
  • the significance of the Court of Session ruling 
  • why Glasgow City Council's WPBR is 'unfit for purpose'
  • the behaviour of council officials in the ongoing settlement negotiations
I'll publish a report on the MSP/MP briefing on Friday or Saturday and will let people know who turns up.

A March and Rally in support of equal pay is taking place in Glasgow on Saturday (see post below for details) and both events will play their part in bringing this long-running dispute to a long overdue end. 

  

BAD BAD BAD DAY AT THE OFFICE 


Or

COUNCIL NEEDS A COURSE ON NEGOTIATIONS 101

We met the council officers again on Tuesday. It didn’t go well. It needs to be stressed that no politicians were involved.

The disconnect between words from politicians and the deeds of the officers grows and grows.

This is our 6th meeting. For the previous 5 the claimants have been required to do the work and present our case. We have received nothing in return. This included spending weeks preparing numbers and projections on the losses in the protection period and explaining them to the council.

We expected a properly considered response. We didn’t get it. No response at all. Not even a rejection. They simply ignored the work we had done. Not only had we been asked to prepare numbers , we had to sent them in advance so they could prepare. What a waste of time.

Did the council do the same? Not a chance. They hadn’t even done their own sums. Frankly it was a joke.

BAD! 

We are stuck in a loop, going round and round in circles. We can’t get the officers to commit to a single decision. They won’t set out their position on anything. We have no idea what is or is Not in dispute. They seem to just want to discuss process.

They won’t even commit to replacing WPBR. It was even suggested they could relitigate it all over again for new claimants but this time calling an expert.

The most we could get was an agreement to look at a process to consider whether they might consider alternatives. But this would require politicians agreement at some distant time in the future but reminding us the council is split.

BAD!

For the first time the whole claimant group was united around a principle of parity. Everyone gets should get the same offer irrespective of who represents them if their circumstances are the same. Once again we raised this in advance. The council had no response.

BAD!

Negotiations are about each side setting out their case so the other side understands it, seeking common ground, arguments over the differences, seeking compromise to enable agreement. The council officers cannot get off first base. They won’t set out their position on anything, let alone debate it. We are stuck on procedural matters.

This cannot continue. There is no sense of urgency and my feeling is that there is no genuine commitment to a resolution amongst the officers, despite what they say. Unison estimated that it was costing the council £50000 an hour, every hour , whilst they dither and prevaricate.

Come on Susan, Help us out here!


Stefan Cross



Won't Get Fooled Again! (07/02/18)


The latest news from the Glasgow equal pay negotiations is not good.

As a matter of fact it's downright discouraging because senior officials in the council seem to be more interested in defending their past behaviour and controversial decisions than they are in delivering a just outcome to this long-running dispute.  


Take the WPBR which, as everyone knows, was judged to be 'unfit for purpose' by no less an authority than the Court of Session, Scotland's highest civil court.


Yet instead of agreeing to replace this completely discredited scheme council officials are in no hurry to ditch the WPBR with all its cockamamy 'rules' and discriminatory payments such as the £1,000 a year NSWP payment some employees receive, but only those who have an employment contract for 37 hours a week or more.


In essence having created a Frankenstein's Monster council bosses now seem to be saying that the workforce should to learn to love the WPBR by turning a blind eye to its invented 'rules' and bizarre practices which treat Glasgow's women workers like second class citizens. 


Image result for frankenstein's monster + images

To add insult to injury, council officials are talking about imposing their preferred solutions to outstanding issues on a 'take it to leave it' basis which is completely unacceptable to all the claimant organisations.


Because if senior officials get away with a 'take it or leave it' approach at this early stage, they will obviously do the same when it comes to any final settlement and so the claimants would not receive anything like the sums they are due in compensation for being cheated out of their right to equal pay for the past 10 years.


As you would expect, this ridiculous 'not up for negotiation' approach was rejected out of hand by the claimants' representatives, as a divide and rule tactic.


So the scene is set for a major confrontation - the officials now running the council have been in senior positions for the past 20 years (more on that to follow) and they clearly have considerable responsibility for the position that Glasgow City Council finds itself in today.


On the big issues, council officials seem to think that they know better than the three senior judges at the Court of Session who decided unanimously that Glasgow's WPBR is a 'joke' - because judges don't use words like 'unfit for purpose' lightly.


The same three judges went on to decide, again unanimously, that the city council had no grounds on which to appeal their decision to the UK Supreme Court and you would think this would encourage a degree of humility, rather than arrogance, on the part of officials whose awful advice got Glasgow into such a god-awful mess in the first place. 


One thing's for sure, the approach being taken by council officials is completely at odds with the recent public statements made by the Council Leader, Susan Aitken.


.Image result for resign + images


  


Glasgow and Equal Pay - Riding the Rollercoaster




Over the past couple of years Glasgow's fight for equal pay has felt a lot like riding a rollercoaster with its thrills and spills, stomach-churning ups and downs, and all too frequent twists and turns. 

But thankfully we have now reached the point where we all can climb off this 'runaway train' and get on with the rest of our lives.

Because agreement has finally been reached over the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which sets out the terms of the 'peace deal' with Glasgow City Council that will bring an end to its long-running equal pay dispute.

So a big Thank You! and Well Done! to everyone involved.

Today is a big day, one that's been 'a long time coming' as they say, but we got there in the end because of the Claimants and your big-hearted, unsparing, 'never say die' Glasgow support.

I can honestly say there has never been a campaign that comes close to matching Glasgow's long, hard battle to deliver equal pay for thousands of low paid City Council workers. 

  



SIGNING DAY 
THURSDAY 7TH FEBRUARY 2019

In America Signing day is a huge event in college football. 


This is today

But for us tomorrow is a huge SIGNING DAY

We have agreed the terms of the MOU

We will sign it tomorrow

THE DEAL IS DONE

HEADLINES

1 - IT INCLUDES ALL CLAIMS SUBMITTED UP TO 31/01/19

2- Whether offers are up to March 17 or 18 is still up to the council but we fully expect it will be 2018 but no guarantee

3. Offers to be sent in May with payments in June if you accept and get forms back to your rep asap (payment to your bank 28 days after forms returned to council )

So I think it safe to say WE WON

MORE COMMENT TOMORROW


Stefan Cross