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Showing posts from October, 2007

Red Faces in North Ayrshire!!!!

North Ayrshire Council was left with egg all over its face today - as senior council officials were forced to abandon their case on Day 2 of a hearing scheduled for 3 Days. To add insult to injury, the Employment Tribunal also awarded costs against the council for wasting every one's time - a lesson for employers everywhere! North Ayrshire had been arguing (ludicrously) that many of our clients claims were time barred - because of changes that had taken place to their jobs in 2005. But having heard evidence from various quarters - the upshot was that the council simply shot itself in both feet (from close range) - and there was no case to answer. A great WHOOP went up from the waiting room when our clients heard the news - the council was being forced to abandon a previously unshakeable position - on which senior officials were staking their lives only minutes before. The same (and very highly paid officials) now need to explain to their political masters - just how they

North Ayrshire Council

North Ayrshire Council is up to its old tricks again . A pre-hearing review is scheduled for next week (29, 30 and 31 October) and the arrangements for the hearing have been under discussion for some time. Stefan Cross suggested a test case involving only a few members of staff to minimise the disruption for everyone involved. But for reasons known only to itself the council refused to play ball and has suddenly refused permission for any staff to attend during working time - which we believe to be a deliberate wrecking tactic on their part. Stefan Cross wrote to all clients affected by this hearing late last week - urging people to attend the hearings. But by refusing to grant time-off North Ayrshire is deliberately making it impossible for most people to attend - unless they already have a scheduled day off. We have spoken to a number of clients and have been told that the council arranged a hasty ring around on Friday - though outside office hours (i.e. after 5pm) - to sa

EDINBURGH - STOP PRESS

Good news to report from Edinburgh! The city council has now backed down and agreed to make revised settlements to male workers in predominantly female posts - i.e. carers, cooks, cleaners and so on. The council said previously that it would not make new offers to these groups (for reasons known only to itself) - which caused a well deserved storm of protest in the local press and a flood of complaints to local councillors. So, it just goes to show that making a fuss and giving the politicians a hard time - can make a big difference. Well done to everyone who lent a hand - and forced the council to think again!

Lobbying Councillors and MSPs

If you are in the process of seeking a meeting with your local councillor or MSP to discuss equal pay - always remember that things have improved a great deal under the fairer voting systems that now apply in Scotland's councils and the Holyrood Parliament (Westminster still has some way to go). Choice First of all, you have much more choice - you're no longer stuck with one party rule and stony faced politicians who are prepared to do no more than repeat the agreed party line. Councillors Scotland's council wards are now typically made up of 3 or 4 councillors - there is not just one councillor for your local area. So, if you're being fobbed off by someone who's not really interested in your case or what you have to say - go and see one of the other councillors. And let the first one know that you will remember how they've behaved at election time. MSPs Scotland's MSPs fall into two categories - individual MSPs who represent a single constituency a

Evening Times

The Evening Times has a good article in today's paper about equal pay in South Lanarkshire - which can be read online at: www.eveningtimes.co.uk The article has a great quote from one of our clients - that the council is in denial over equal pay and that people are not going to give up and go away - just because the council has its head stuck in the sand. Another local paper - the Rutherglen Reformer - has been in touch on the back of the Action 4 Equality meeting held in Blantyre last week - and is likely to have its own report when the paper comes out later this week. We could do with similar coverage in the Hamilton Advertiser and East Kilbride News - for anyone living in these areas. So, local people speaking to their local newspapers is a very good way of getting our message across - but always remember to keep your name and personal details out of the story to avoid any repercussions from council management. Journalists will always be happy to respect your confidentia

South Lanarkshire Council

150 people attended a packed Action 4 Equality meeting in Blantyre last night (Wednesday 10 October) - to consider ways of turning the heat up on South Lanarkshire Council. Lots of good ideas came out of the meeting and these will be followed up soon. In the meantime, here are some of the questions and answers raised on the night: Do employees in South Lanarkshire Council have the same claims as anywhere else? Yes, because the pay gap between traditional male and female jobs in South Lanarkshire is just as great as it it in Glasgow, Edinburgh and other parts of Scotland. Do the traditional male jobs in South Lanarkshire still receive bonus payments? No, but these payments have simply been absorbed into basic salaries - so a refuse worker is paid thousands of pounds a year more than a carer - just like everywhere else What kind of jobs can bring an equal pay claim? Home Carers, Cleaners, Catering Assistants, Cooks, Catering Managers, Escorts, Classroom Assistants, Clerical Wo

Union Dues = Union Blues

An irate client - and member of the GMB - has been in touch to say that her union dues have been increased by an unbelievable amount, but without her prior knowledge or agreement. Previously she paid £2.46 every fortnight to the GMB, but right out of the blue this figure suddenly jumped to £5.02 - more than double, in fact - and without any warning or letter to explain what was going on. Seems incredible, but they're you are! Now, this can't be down to the great job the GMB has done over equal pay - quite the opposite, as many people realise. Truth is that if union dues were based on performance, the GMB would owe its members a full refund - for sitting around on their lazy backsides all these years. Not surprisingly, the client has cancelled her membership - but has asked us to spread the word and encourage other union members to check their pay slips as well. " I have paid union dues for 35 years and if it wasn't for Action 4 Equality, I know full well that

North Lanarkshire - contact details

Here are some handy contact details for MPS and MSPs in the North Lanarkshire Council area - similar information for local councillors will follow: MSPs - Constituency Members Karen Whitefield (Labour) Airdire and Shotts: Karen.Whitefield.msp@scottish.parliament.uk Elaine Smith (Labour) Coatbridge and Chryston: Elaine.Smith.msp@scottish.parliament.uk Cathie Craigie(Labour) Cumbernauld and Kilsyth: Cathie.Craigie.msp@scottish.parliament.uk Michael McMahon (Labour) Hamilton and Bellshill: Michael.McMahon.msp@scottish.parliament.uk Jack McConnell (Labour) Motherwell and Wishaw: Jack.McConnell.msp@scottish.parliament.uk MSPs - Regional List Members Margaret Mitchell (Conservative): Margaret.Mitchell.msp@scottish.parliament.uk Hugh O'Donnell (liberal Democrat): Hugh.O'Donnell.msp@scottish.parliament.uk Linda Fabiani (SNP): Linda.Fabiani.msp@scottish.parliament.uk Jamie Hepburn (SNP): Jamie.Hepburn.msp@scottish.parliament.uk Christine McKelvie (SNP): Christine.

North Lanarkshire Council

There have been lots of calls from clients in North Lanarkshire recently - asking for an update on the progress of claims in that area. The position in North Lanarkshire is exactly the same as everywhere else - people's claims are all working their way through the Employment Tribunals - and as soon are there is any news or progress to share, the details will be reported here on this web site . It's true that more and more councils are signalling a desire to reach a settlement - along similar lines to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Stirling - and we hope to be making further announcements (regarding other councils) in the next couple of weeks. But the employers are not settling out of charity or because they suddenly want to be kind to their staff! No, these councils are settling because the law on equal pay is the same right across the country. And the employers can see that it will cost them even more, if cases go all the way through the Employment Tribunal process. In the a

Edinburgh City Council

As reported previously, Edinburgh Council has agreed a settlement on equal pay - but not all groups of staff are included in the agreement, which awaits final ratification by the full council on 25 October 2007. Not because of the lack of trying on the part of Action 4 Equality and Stefan Cross,it has to be said. But at this stage the council is only prepared to make revised offers to what they call manual worker staff - even though the term manual worker supposedly became obsolete many years ago, in 1999 to be exact. Whatever Edinburgh Council says - the truth is that equal pay is really about the skills and responsibilities required required to do any two jobs that are being compared - not about whether one job was previously classified as 'manual' or 'white collar' (APT&C). The important thing - in equal pay terms at least - is whether the employer can justify the pay gap between groups of predominantly male and and female jobs - which, of course, managemen