Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Glasgow - All Talk, No Action and Glasgow Grannies


Last year I wrote about the Facebook warriors who claim to be suing the trade unions in Glasgow over equal pay.

Now I wouldn't hold my breath because they've been saying the same thing for years, but haven't laid a glove on anyone after all this time.

Despite the fact that in South Lanarkshire Council, for example, there was strong evidence back in 2008/09 that the local Unison branch failed to stand up for its members over equal pay (readers will recall that I wrote extensively about this on my blog).

In effect, while A4ES was leading the fight all those years ago the local Unison branch was actively discouraging union members from pursuing equal pay claims against South Lanarkshire Council.

So A4ES got on with the job on its own via yet another long-running  Employment Tribunal case which lasted more than 7 years until a negotiated settlement was finally reached in 2013, if I remember correctly.

Now for the past 5 years or so DM Legal has been banging on about suing the unions, yet somehow South Lanarkshire has managed to escape unscathed which seems rather odd,  remarkable even, and suggests to me that if DM Legal can't succeed in their own backyard of Lanarkshire, they can't succeed anywhere.

Not least because the circumstances in Glasgow are very different and there is no evidence I know of to show that the unions actively discouraged their members from pursuing equal pay claims against Glasgow City Council.

In Glasgow the trade unions are part of the solution - they have learned from past mistakes, they did play a crucial role in achieving an equal pay settlement with the City Council in 2019 and are now working to replace the 'unfit for purpose' WPBR pay scheme with new, non-discriminatory pay arrangements.

So I don't believe that A4ES or the trade unions need any advice from shouty, social media warriors banging on an empty drum, as that would be like offering to teach your Glasgow Granny how to suck eggs.

 

Glasgow - Huffing and Puffing (14/01/20)



Here's a letter from the GMB which questions, rightly if you ask me, why all this talk about suing the unions over equal pay has resulted in not a single claim being lodged against any of the alleged wrongdoers in Glasgow - or in any other Scottish council for that matter.

What puzzles me is that if there were a real case to answer in Scotland's largest council, there would be some proper evidence to share, instead of all this huffing and puffing on social media which amounts to little more than hot air, if you ask me.

Now the folks at DM Legal claim to be "legally qualified professionals", but they behave like rank amateurs with their malign name calling and false claims on Facebook about Frances Stojilkovic, for example.

Because Frances has done more than most to help her fellow council workers in Glasgow understand their rights and has been an important figure in the fight for equal pay for years.           

More to follow tomorrow because there's a very interesting back story involved here which goes all the way back to 2008/09.

So watch this space.

 

 



Dear Member,

I am writing to alert you to an issue which some GMB members are facing with a ‘Claims Management Company’ called DM Legal Claims Limited. This company is offering to run legal claims for GMB members in exchange for an up-front fee.

In April 2019, it became law that that all Claims Management Companies needed to be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Contrary to their assurances that they registered with the FCA in early 2019, DM Legal Claims Limited are not registered with the FCA.

GMB believes that by continuing to provide the claims management activities- including claims against the trade unions in relation to Equal Pay - DM Legal Claims Limited are committing an offence. Their activities have been reported to the FCA and we understand the FCA are investigating whether they are trading lawfully.

GMB are also concerned that this company have been taking up-front fees from trade union members for nearly five years, claiming that they will use the money to sue the trade unions. However, after all that time they have still not taken any legal action against anyone. That is because they know there are no legal claims against the unions for Equal Pay and, even if there were, they do not have the skills, resources or experience to run those claims. In many cases, the time limit for raising any claim will have expired because of the delay by DM Legal in raising a legal case.

In short, DM Legal Claims Limited are taking money from Equal Pay claimants; not doing anything with that money; and are likely to be doing so illegally.

If you or any of your colleagues have handed money over to DM Legal, we encourage you to ask them why they haven’t lodged a claim for you and to ask them to give you your money back.

In Solidarity,
Rhea Wolfson


https://www.glasgowtimes.co.uk/news/18153262.union-accused-false-claims-legal-firm/


Union accused of false claims about legal firm


By Niall Christie and Catriona Stewart - Evening Times

UNION bosses have warned their members to beware of a firm of legal advisors pledging to raise a claim for union negligence.

But the firm in question has hit back, accusing the union of making false claims, with emails from regulators appearing to confirm no unauthorised action is ongoing.

Lanarkshire-based DM Legal Claims has been asking women involved in Glasgow's equal pay scandal for £100 up front to join a joint action against GMB Scotland, Unison and Unite.

Now GMB Scotland has sent a letter to its members telling them the firm is being investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The message to members also claims DM have been taking money to sue trade unions for five years despite not having 'the skills, resources of experience to run those claims'.

The letter from GMB Scotland adds: "In short, DM Legal Claims Ltd are taking money from Equal Pay claimants, not doing anything with that money, are likely to be doing so illegally."

DM Legal claims, run by Donna-Marie Feenan, strongly refuted the claims.

Responding to GMB, the company say the allegation of illegality is a 'malicious and highly vindictive and dangerous claim to make' with 'no evidence to support this whatsoever'.

Representatives also say the FCA have given permission for the claims to continue, as they are designated as 'unregulated activity', with the company now registered and seeking approval from the regulator.

The letter continues: "Had you done what you are legally required to do, this situation would not even exist and we would not have had to step up to fight for justice for our invaluable working class clients."

The firm is understood to be planning to raise a claim against the unions for negligence towards their female members in how the equal pay claims against Glasgow City Council were dealt with.

Of the 16,000 mainly female workers to receive compensation over historic unequal pay, there is a divide between those who received 12 years of pay and those who received five.

A spokesman for GMB said: "We understand the activities of DM Legal have been reported to the FCA and they are investigating whether DM Legal are acting unlawfully."



Glasgow - Are You Professionally Koalafied? (13/01/20)



A kind reader sent me this Facebook post which claims that 'Team DM Legal' are 'legally qualified professionals'. 

"4. DM Legal are well equipped with the skills, resources and experience to run this legal case. We are a team of four, we are hard working and legally qualified professionals; plus we have the best Advocate on our team."

Now this is a bold claim on which I'll have more to say soon, but it does sit oddly with the following statement made by DM Legal as well which I posted on the blog back in June last year:

"To be honest I don't give a fuck about professionalism"

Hmmmm......what a strange way for anyone to behave never mind someone who claims to be a 'legally qualified professional'.


 

Out of Control (21/06/19)



Anyone who is dumb enough to say, in public, on social media: 



"To be honest I don't give a fuck about professionalism" 

Has a big problem if you ask me and is drawing attention to the fact that they cannot control themselves.  

For some reason I keep receiving infantile messages from these 'Facebook chancers' who tell me that they want to be taken seriously.

Yet they keep slagging off the Glasgow Claimants for accepting equal pay settlements which have been the subject of a fierce battle, both in and out of court, for the past 12 years.  

Here's another of their dumb Facebook comments: 

"I would never take any settlement knowing my friends and colleagues were only getting 5 years money and £17,000 if they were lucky." 

Now I have no idea what would drive someone to speak in such an arrogant and condescending manner, but it's embarrassing and unprofessional for sure. 


 
One of my New Year resolutions for 2020 is to spend much less time on social media. 

Now don't get me wrong because Facebook and Twitter are a force for good in many ways - both played a significant role in Glasgow's fight for equal pay, for example, by sharing vital information and mobilising people.

But the downside is that far too much valuable time and energy can be spent trying to reason with 'armchair experts' who really don't have a clue what they're talking about - beyond their own self-obsessed, self-serving opinions.   

However, the good news is that I am, as ever, happy to respond to all and any readers who have genuine questions or sensible points to make.