Showing posts from January, 2008

North Ayrshire Council - update

A CMD hearing regarding the North Ayrshire cases took place in Glasgow last week - here's the latest news: 1 The Employment Tribunal has agreed that most, if not all, North Ayrshire Council cases will now be heard at a single GMF hearing 2 The council has had to abandon its argument for treating Home Carers as a separate category and a different type of claim - in effect the council has been forced to accept that the reorganisation of the service in 2005 did not change the underlying grades 3 The council is suggesting that some female claimants are not actually paid any less than their male comparators - but failed to provide any details 4 The Employment Tribunal has agreed to give the council some time to explain precisely what they mean by this - and identify which claimants (they say) are involved 5 The Employment Tribunal has also ordered the council to provide overall rates of pay for all claimants and comparator posts - i.e. to come clean on what bonuses the tradit

Edinburgh Council - Male Claims

Edinburgh City Council has some of its equal pay claims, but has excluded several large groups - including male clients in predominantly female jobs - male home helps and catering workers, for example. Even though the council has made revised offers to all of the female workers doing these jobs - the male workers were excluded at the last minute - for reasons the council will not or cannot explain. The male claimants do exactly the same job as their female colleagues - they were made offers (albeit poor offers) the first time round - but without any prior warning or justification the council suddenly moved the goalposts - leaving people high and dry. Which is, of course, no way to treat hardworking, long serving and loyal employees. Edinburgh councillors will be considering the issue again at the next full council meeting in February 2008 (date to be confirmed) . We have been kicking up a fuss and we need our clients to do the same - see post dated 1 December 2007. If everyon

Falkirk Council - update

Our recent report about secret bonus earnings in Falkirk has caused a bit of a stushie locally - see post dated 8 January 2008. Hundreds of Action 4 Equality clients were shocked to learn just how much more the male jobs have been paid all these years - and how badly they'd been let down by senior managers and the trade unions. But not everyone was in the dark it would appear, oh no! Because Councillor Pat Reid (Labour) has been in touch saying that he's known all about the pay gap between the male and female workers - and what's all the fuss about anyway! The 'fuss' councillor is that it's discriminatory and unlawful to pay groups of men more than groups of women - unless you can justify the difference in pay by pointing to the relative skills and responsibilities of the jobs that are being compared. And who in their right mind would try to argue that a (female) carer, cook or classroom assistant is worth so much less than a (male) refuse collector, ga

Mickey Mouse, South Lanarkshire and Job Evaluation

South Lanarkshire Council has asked Action 4 Equality and Stefan Cross to explain the basis of our challenge to its Job Evaluation Scheme (JES). We're delighted to do so. In fact, so delighted, we've decided to give them what they really deserve - both barrels. So, here's what we've said on behalf of our 1500 South Lanarkshire clients. 1 The history of single status is that the pre-2003 pay arrangements were widely accepted as discriminatory - by both the employers and unions - so any scheme that simply reproduces the old pay differentials (between male and female groups) is itself discriminatory and unfair 2 The council failed to use a recognised and professionally approved scheme - instead they used a Mickey Mouse scheme dreamed up by a handful of senior councillors and council officials - a scheme that no one can now explain or defend 3 The JES is completely subjective and does not measure the day-to-day demands of people's jobs - which is what's

Glasgow Jannies

Word is clearly spreading amongst school janitors in Glasgow (and elsewhere) - because we are getting lots of enquiries about why this group has a valid equal pay claim - see post dated 3 December 2007. The reason is that school janitors were at the top of the manual workers grading scheme for many years - yet paid much less than other male groups on lower grades. The old scheme has only recently been replaced - by new and allegedly non-discriminatory pay arrangements - but janitors and others still have strong claims for back pay and compensation . Because for years school janitors were on manual worker grades 5, 6 and 7 - yet paid less than refuse workers on grades 2, 3 and 4!! The relatively high grades of school janitors reflected the level of responsibility they had for school buildings and school facilities - in some larger schools for swimming pools and suchlike. How can this be fair? Well the answer is that it can't - and that's why janitors have equal pay cla

NHS Scotland - Pay Information

Information about salaries and pay rates within the NHS is a key issue in pursuing our clients' equal pay claims. The employers and the trade unions obviously know the details of how all the different jobs and grades and paid - after all they have negotiated them over many years!! But - just as in local government - the employers and the unions are now both very keen to keep the details secret and hidden from the workforce and their members. Because once the largely female workforce finds out just how big the pay gap is (with traditional male jobs) - the genie is out of the bottle. See the post regarding the pay gap between male and female jobs in South Lanarkshire Council - dated 10 November 2007. And the more recent post dated 7 January 2008 highlighting the same issue in Falkirk. And exactly the same thing has been going for many years inside Scotland's NHS - within the estates management side of the health service and with other male dominated jobs such as technic

NHS Scotland - update

NHS cases is Scotland have become bogged down at the Employment Tribunals due to the foot dragging antics of the employers - but also because the trade unions are hopelessly compromised. The trade unions - Unison being the main culprit - have agreed with Agenda for Change every step of the way at national level - but they are also implementing the new grades locally in a way that completely suits the employers. A rather odd way for a trade union to behave, don't you think? Union members don't have access to information about how other NHS jobs are being graded - but why not? The union reps carrying out the grading exercise locally (and jointly with NHS managers) often lack the necessary expertise and training - why? Union members don't receive regular feedback what's going on locally - why? So the whole Agenda for Change process is becoming discredited as widespread anomalies creep into a system that is supposed to be transparent and even-handed. At the Em

Falkirk Council - update

A further CMD hearing (case management discussion) has been set for Falkirk Council on 29 February 2008 - and the intention of the Employment Tribunal is to set a date for a GMF hearing at that time. If all goes according to plan, a firm timetable will then be in place to finally adjudicate on the Falkirk cases - which will put the council between a rock and a hard place - so things are heating up! At the last CMD hearing Falkirk was arguing that the claims of the Home Carers are undermined by the reorganisation of the service that took place in 2002 - their view is that Home Carers claims can only proceed from 2002 onwards - instead of going back a full 5 years to 2000/2001. We completely disagree and said so at the last CMD hearing. We believe that the Home carers jobs were substantially the same before and after the 2002 reorganisation - and we believe that, in any event, the Home Carers jobs were not properly evaluated, re-graded or paid what they were really worth. And w

Secret Bonus Earnings

Falkirk Council has finally been forced to release details of the bonus earnings for its traditionally male (manual worker) jobs. And the results are truly amazing - no wonder the employers and the unions tried so hard to keep this information under wraps for so long!! Here are a few examples: Driver Grade - Manual Worker 3 Basic Pay - £11,694 Bonus Pay - £7,228 (not paid to women Grade 3 jobs - or their equivalent) Percentage Bonus - 62% Refuse Collector Grade - Manual Worker 2 Basic Pay - £11,307 Bonus Pay - £6,649 (not paid to women Grade 2 jobs - or their equivalent) Percentage Bonus - 62% Gardener 2 Grade - Manual Worker 2 Basic Pay - £11,307 Bonus Pay - £6,649 (not paid to women Grade 2 jobs - or their equivalent) Percentage Bonus - 62% Refuse Driver Grade - Manual Worker 4 Basic Pay - £12,603 Bonus Pay - £7,094 (not paid to women Grade 4 jobs - or their equivalent) Percentage Bonus - 62% Gravedigger Grade - Manual Worker 3 Basic Pay - £11,694 Bonus

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to our clients in Scotland - and all the very best for 2008! Action 4 Equality and Stefan Cross have now reached settlements with the following four Scottish councils: Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling and Renfrewshire - although our clients in these areas also have ongoing claims - because the employers continue to protect the higher pay of traditional male jobs. And while the pay gap remains our clients have a future (as well as a past) claim - so spread the word and let others know they still have a claim - even if they've settled with their council before! Preliminary discussions are also underway with several other councils - and more are likely to follow as Employment Tribunals begin to set dates for cases to be adjudicated finally. So, we expect the pace of settlements in Scotland to pick up in the weeks and months ahead - and not before time too! Clients call us all the time asking for an update - so here is some general advice as 2008 gets underway. 1 I