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Showing posts from August, 2007

***GLASGOW - STOP PRESS***

Good news for Home Care Coordinators in Glasgow! Common sense has finally broken out after the flurry of activity over the past few days - see post dated 24 August 2007. Glasgow City Council has now agreed that Home Care Coordinators will be treated in exactly the same way as everyone else - and quite right too! So, people's claims will now be re-calculated and re-issued as quickly as possible - this will be given top priority after all the unnecessary delay and behind the scenes arguments for the past couple of months. A great big Thank You to everyone who got in touch with their local councillors and the council leadership - this made all the difference in helping to bring the dispute to a swift and satisfactory conclusion. We were only asking for fair play and equal treatment for Home Care Coordinators - but sometimes you've got to fight for what's right. And that's a lesson for clients everywhere.

Glasgow - Home Care Coordinators

A letter is on its way to Home Care Coordinator (HCC) clients in Glasgow - advising that the council is making a pig's ear of their settlement offers. Many of the offers are based on their contracted hours of 30 hours per week - whereas most, if not all, HCCs work additional hours which should also be taken into account when calculating the value of their individual settlements. No other group of staff have been treated this way - and council officials are unable to explain why they think it's fair to treat Home Care Coordinators differently. So, after weeks of trying to resolve the problem by patient behind the scenes discussions - the dispute is now out in the open. The council has been told that we cannot recommend HCC clients to accept that they should be treated as second class citizens. If a satisfactory solution cannot be found (i.e. one that treats Home Care Coordinators in the same way as everyone else), our view is that these cases will proceed all the way to

SCOTTISH NURSE MAGAZINE

A new Action 4 Equality advert will appear in this month's edition of the Scottish Nurse magazine. We can send you a copy of the advert by e-mail, on request, along with the paperwork you need - if you'd like to pursue an NHS equal pay claim. This particular advert is aimed at nurse and midwives - and gives details of the likely size of people's claims.But there are many other groups with equally valid claims - which cover just about all of the NHS jobs carried out predominantly by women workers (medical secretaries, physiotherapists etc). The advert asks three crucial questions: ARE YOU FED UP WITH EMPTY PROMISES ABOUT AGENDA FOR CHANGE? ARE YOU PUZZLED AT THE RCN's AND RCM's LAID BACK APPROACH TO EQUAL PAY? EVER WONDERED WHY UNISON IS SO USELESS AT STANDING UP FOR ITS MEMBERS? If you answer YES to one or more of these questions, then you should definitely pursue an NHS equal pay claim - and the sooner this gets going the better because it triggers a back p

Union Bosses and Equal Pay

While ordinary union members struggle to get what they really deserve when it comes to equal pay - just how well do the big union bosses do in terms of their their own pay and rations? After all, the trade unions have hardly been pulling out all the stops in the fight for equal pay - the progress that's been made, of late, has been in spite of the unions not because of them - and left to their own devices the unions would still be keeping their members in the dark. In local government - as our clients know - there was scarcely a word from the unions about equal pay until Action 4 Equality and Stefan Cross came along. And in the NHS - the unions are in two minds about whether to sing the praises of Agenda for Change, or to denounce the way it has been implemented in many areas - probably because the unions are jointly responsible for implementing Agenda for Change along with NHS management. Anyway, this lack of urgency on equal pay has not stopped the brothers and sisters at

A Midwife's Tale

A group of midwives from Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board has been in touch recently with a tale of meanness and mendacity - at the way they have been assimilated onto Agenda for Change. Apparently, the midwives were placed on Band 5 (from October 2004) with the expectation that they would progress seamlessly onto Band 6 after a further year's service - i.e. from October 2005. But - and there always seems to be a but with Agenda fo Change - the local NHS management now say that the midwives are stuck on Band 5 for the foreseeable future - for reasons that no one seems able or willing to explain. The midwives go on to say that their trade unions - Unison and the RCM - are about as much use as a chocolate teapot! And what can they do? Well, what they should do are two things. Firstly, they should appeal their Agenda for Change grades - which are ridiculously low at Band 5. We have examples of midwives being placed at Band 7 in other parts of the country - and Agenda fo

Politicians and Equal Pay

More and more clients are taking the fight for equal pay to the politicians - local councillors, Holyrood MSPs and even Westminster MPs North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire and West Lothian are good examples - areas where the council has behaved very badly, has got people's backs up and spurred them into action. For example, a group of clients in North Ayrshire met recently with their local MP Katy Clark - a politician who lists equal opportunities as one of her special interests. North Ayrshire Council has just imposed a new pay and grading structure on its employees - as did West Lothian Council a few weeks previously. Our clients were able to point out that the local Labour MP, Jim Devine, was quick to denounce the council - and he invited our new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, to do the same - which he duly did. Perhaps Jim Devine and Gordon Brown's enthusiasm can be explained by the fact that West Lothian is an SNP controlled council - because in North Ayrshire, Katy Clark

South Lanarkshire Council

Clients in South Lanarkshire are getting increasingly restive because of their council's refusal to face up to reality on equal pay. South Lanarkshire is the only council in Scotland not to have offered some form of compensation to predominantly female workers - whose jobs have been undervalued and underpaid for many years. The council says it introduced a fair job evaluation system in 2004 - but crucially the council refuses point blank to share the details with anyone - including thousands of their own employees. The details of the scheme are also known to the trade unions - apparently but they won't let their members in on the secret either. Open, honest and transparent this ain't - so the fight continues! As senior councillors know, the pay gap between traditional male and female groups is as wide in South Lanarkshire as in any other part of Scotland. Just ask a refuse worker or a gardener in South Lanarkshire what they're paid - compared to a Home Carer or

Adding Insult to Injury - Pensions and Equal Pay

A number of readers have been in touch to ask what the connection is between pensions and equal pay. The answer is that after years of being cheated at work, pay discrimination against women simply continues - gets worse in some respects - adding insult to injury - even into a well earned retirement! The reason being that people's pensions are based on their final salary or earnings - so a Home Carer earning £12,000 per year (on full-time hours) will retire on on much smaller pension that a Refuse Driver earning £18,000 - even though the woman has been on a higher grade than the man for many years! Take the same two examples (Home Carer and Refuse Driver) both with maximum service of 40 years in the pension scheme: The woman would retire on half her pension and get a lump sum of three times this amount - i.e. £6,000 a year and £6,000 x 3 = £18,000 as a lump sum But the male worker would receive a pension of £9,000 a year (half of £18,000) and a cash free lump sum of 3 x £

Edinburgh City Council - Still on Course!

We reported on 1 July that Edinburgh City Council was preparing to make revised offers of settlement to clients of Action 4 Equality and Stefan Cross. The planned timetable has slipped a little bit, but the good news is that we are still on course for this to happen - all being well within the next couple of weeks. Council officials are taking slightly longer than expected to check and re-check their calculations - but they do seem intent on trying to get things right first time - the silver lining in this particular cloud may be that it avoids a lot of time consuming and unnecessary enquiries at the other end of the process. The council has still to decide whether its revised offer will be restricted to certain groups of staff - i.e. only former manual workers. Our position is that all of our clients have perfectly valid claims - including social care workers, clerical staff and classroom assistants - groups which have been badly let down by the unions over recent years. The u