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Showing posts from December, 2007

Seasons Greetings!!!

Merry Christmas and compliments of the season to all our clients in Scotland - from Action 4 Equality and Stefan Cross! We hope you have a wonderful time over the festive period - and look forward to resuming contact in the New Year. Our Newcastle office is now closed until Thursday 3 January, but will re-open again on that date. In the meantime, Action 4 Equality Scotland and Mark Irvine can still be contacted by e-mail at: markirvine@compuserve.com

Renfrewshire Council

Renfrewshire Council has become the latest Scottish council to make revised offers of settlement to clients of Action 4 Equality and Stefan Cross. The revised offers a re a considerable improvement on the original cash sums proposed by Renfrewshire Council in 2006 - and also recommended for acceptance by the tame local trade unions, don't forget! So, what it comes down to is that old saying: "She who laughs last - laughs longest!" Individual letters will be issued to clients before Xmas and we will be doing everything we can to get people paid their money as quickly as possible in the New Year. As with some other councils, these revised offers are restricted to employees on the old manual worker grades at the moment - but there are many other 'white collar' groups (in Renfrewshire and elsewhere) with perfectly valid equal pay claims. So, these unresolved cases will continue - either until the employers come to their senses and make offers to these groups

North Lanarkshire Council

Contrary to popular belief, North Lanarkshire has not made a mess of its Job Evaluation Scheme (JES). Oh no, the reality is actually much worse than that - because the council has set out , quite deliberately, to treat many women workers less favourably than men in traditional male jobs - see posts dated 6 and 10 December 2007. Senior managers have a lot to answer for - and so too do the trade unions - because they've sat on the sidelines and failed to explain what's been going on to their own members. Sadly, the unions have kept a lid on things - kept their heads down - when their members needed practical advice and strong leadership. What should people do now? Appeal and challenge you grade - if you feel it undervalues your job Demand to know how all NLC jobs have been scored - especially traditional male jobs Submit an equal pay claim as well as an internal appeal - this will take your case outside of the council - to an independent Employment Tribunal The bottom l

Job Evaluation 3

As well as manipulating job evaluation results at the lower end of the scale, North Lanarkshire's scheme does exactly the same as it moves up through the new pay and grading structure. Take grade NLC 6. Now this is not a very high grade - nor does it pay a king's ransom - but it does epitomise how male and female jobs have been treated so very differently - under a scheme that was intended to improve the position of many women's jobs - which had been undervalued for years. Some Traditional Male Jobs on NLC 6 Cleansing Chargehand Estates Maintenance Worker 4 Gardener 3 Gravedigger 3 Chargehand Estate Worker Driver 2 (Refuse Driver) Now all of these people carry out vital and important jobs - and no one is demeaning the work they do - the real issue is why are they treated so differently? Because if the truth be told - all of these jobs are old-fashioned manual worker jobs that have existed for years - jobs that were graded at no more than Manual Worker 4 under

Job Evaluation 2

Even more mysterious than the Cleaners' grading (see post dated 6 December) - is the way in which many other female dominated jobs have fared under North Lanarkshire's Job Evaluation Scheme (JES). Take a Refuse Collector - another important, but essentially unskilled job that require virtually no training and carries little responsibility - and of course it's done overwhelmingly by men whose bonus payments are being protected by the council for years into the future. Before the JES - Refuse Collectors were on a relatively low grade of Manual Worker (MW) 2 - much lower than a Home Help, for example, whose job was graded at MW 5. But after the JES - Refuse Collectors have been placed on NLC 3 under the new pay and grading system - putting them on a par with a huge number of female dominated jobs - jobs that clearly require much greater levels of skill and responsibility. What are these jobs? Home Support Worker, Catering Assistant, Clerical Assistant, Creche Worker

Job Evaluation 1

Hands up! How many employees of North Lanarkshire Council believe that their new Job Evaluation Scheme (JES) has been applied fairly, consistently and in a manner that rewards people properly for the jobs they do? Well, very few it seems if our feedback is anything to go by - probably just the senior managers whose jobs were conveniently left outside the scope of the JES - and of course the local union reps who negotiated and urged members to accept the scheme when it was first proposed. Take the lowest grade in the new pay structure - NLC 1 - as it has been imaginatively called. By a truly amazing coincidence this grade has been solely and exclusively reserved for the job of Cleaner - needless to say a job done overwhelmingly by low paid women workers. Now a Cleaner does a very important job - as do many other council employees - including Road Sweepers which, as everyone knows, is a traditional male and bonus earning job. Before North Lanarkshire's allegedly fairer JE

North Lanarkshire Council

After months of delay and foot dragging by the council, things are now beginning to hot up in North Lanarkshire - more to follow including news from the Employment Tribunals - but here's a brief summary of events so far. In February/March 2006, North Lanarkshire tried to persuade its workforce into accepting a new pay and grading structure. Rather oddly, management and trade unions were singing from exactly the same hymn sheet - that is until Action 4 Equality arrived on the scene and explained to people that they were being sold a pig in a poke. The proposed deal blew up in disarray- as angry North Lanarkshire workers voted the scheme down by an overwhelming majority - after a series of workplace meetings and secret ballot. In the summer of 2006, council managers announced they would press ahead anyway - by imposing the package over people's heads and despite having lost a vote - that was so vital to their plans just months earlier. A key part of the package was a new

School Janitors and Duff Advice

School janitors are a predominantly male group of workers who - along with many others - have been badly let down by poor advice from their trade unions. School janitors were on some of the highest old manual worker grades (MW 5, 6 and 7) reflecting their responsibilities - but just like many women workers they still routinely earned much less than the bonus earning male groups on lower grades - such as refuse workers, gardeners, gravediggers etc. When Action 4 Equality came along and lifted the lid off equal pay - we advised school janitors and other male groups that they too had valid equal pay claims - although they relied on the women workers winning their claims first. At the time, the unions rubbished this advice claims and told their male members that they were wasting their time. In Glasgow, for example, where the GMB union represents most of the school janitors local officials laughed in their members faces - and told them not to waste the union's time. But now the

Edinburgh - Revised Offers

Revised offers from Edinburgh City Council have started going out to Action 4 Equality clients this weekend - at the moment the council is restricting the improved offers to female manual workers. We aim to turn these offers around within a matter of days - so that our clients get their money as quickly as possible. The sooner people return their paperwork, the sooner we can complete the process with the council - which will allow us to release individual cheques. Remember - everyone who case is already underway with Action 4 Equality has an ongoing claim from 1 April 2008 - because the council is going to protect the higher pay of the male workers for years to come. And for as long as the pay gap remains - between these groups of male and female workers - employees in Edinburgh (and elsewhere) have valid and very valuable equal pay claims. Remember, also, that lots of people have perfectly good equal pay claims - but have yet to do something about it - see the two posts date

Edinburgh - Male Claims

Edinburgh City Council is to revisit the issue of making revised offers to male workers on Thursday 20 December 2007 - at the next full council meeting. The council's finance chief - Councillor Gordon MacKenzie - announced in October via the Edinburgh Evening News (see post dated 19 November) that the council would do the right thing by this group of workers. And quite right too - because they do exactly the same jobs as their female colleagues - and to treat them any differently will simply open the council up to more legal challenges and complaints of direct sex discrimination. Action 4 Equality has already been in touch with Councillor MacKenzie - we will be getting back to him again this week urging the finance chief and his fellow councillors to deal with this matter decisively on 20 December. If not, this will make a mockery of Edinburgh City Council's claim to be an equal opportunities employer. Our clients can help - you should lobby your own local councillors