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Showing posts from July, 2009

MPs' Expenses - The Scandal Continues

After months of jaw dropping revelations – the MPs’ expenses scandal has hit a new low. Reports in the media today confirm that far from cleaning up their act – MPs are actually being encouraged to stick their noses ever deeper into the Westminster trough. Under new ‘rules’ created by MPs themselves honourable members will be entitled to claim £25 subsistence when staying away from their designated main home. But, crucially, how they spend this money will not be subject to public scrutiny – unlike most expenses regimes where claims have to be backed up with proper receipts. The new rules have been published as the House of Commons broke up for its mammoth 82 day summer recess – thereby avoiding a damaging debate – but the rules now state: “Members... may claim a flat-rate sum of £25 for subsistence. No receipts are necessary for this claim to be made. How members spend the subsistence allowance is for them to decide.” The new allowance is almost double the previous £4,800-a-yea

Unions Speak with Forked Tongues

Word is certainly getting around that the trade unions speak with forked tongues when it comes to equal pay. The unions might talk a good fight, as they always do – but, as everyone knows, actions speak louder than words. The latest debacle regarding hearing dates for Edinburgh is a prime example of union double speak – see post dated 25 July. “We’ll take up your case, we won’t charge you anything”, the unions say. But then they go on to make a complete hash of things - and start lining up alongside the employer – instead of standing up for the interests of ordinary union members. Stefan Cross has objected strongly to Unison’s disgraceful attempt to delay a proper hearing of the Edinburgh claims until late 2010 – here’s why: 1. Some of the claims to be considered at the forthcoming GMF hearing were submitted four years ago - in October 2005 2. Any further delay is wholly unreasonable and is not in the interest of the claimants. 3. If Unison is unable to represent their clients a

Big Stink in Auld Reekie

Edinburgh City Council has been dragging its feet over equal pay for many long months – but they’ve now found a strange ally in the shape of Unison. Come to think of it – maybe it’s not so odd – because the employers and unions are often scratching each other’s backs. Anyway, the point is this – Stefan Cross has been pressing the council and the Employment Tribunal to set a date for a full GMF or ‘defence’ hearing. A GMF hearing is where the council has to explain and try to justify the big pay differences between male and female jobs. Yes – the very same pay differences that the employers and the unions kept hidden from the female workers for years. The council knows fine well it has no credible defence at such a hearing – and it has been playing for time trying to delay the inevitable. Meanwhile Stefan Cross has been urging the tribunal to stand up for the rights of ordinary, individual claimants. Now – out of the blue – Unison is trying to ride to the council’s rescue – be

Union Propaganda - Beware!

If you’re desperate enough to ask Unison for help with an equal pay claim - the union sends out some interesting materials – some are for information, others require action. Here are a few examples: OVERSTATED, OVERBLOWN CLAIMS Our promise is to provide a free equal pay service from day one..... A grand sounding claim – but the reality is that Day 1 was July 1999 when the original Single Status agreement came into effect in Scotland - a full 10 years ago. Since that time many thousands of council workers have lost out financially – because the unions failed to take the action needed - to defend their interests over equal pay. DIY CASE FORMS Unison Case Form – Remedy sought by member – Please state here what services you would like Unison to provide on your behalf. The fact that Unison is asking members to come up with their own potential remedies and solutions says it all – surely people are entitled to a better service. It’s a kind of DIY approach to equal pay, which put

Voters Take Revenge

Voters in Norwich North have taken their revenge on the political classes - returning a new MP in the wake of the Westminster expenses scandal. Denied the opportunity to dump the sitting Labour MP as he was prevented from standing in the contest (see post dated 23 July) - the electorate did the next best thing by at least dumping the sitting party. Now we're strictly neutral when it comes to party politics - colour blind in fact - unlike the unions that only have eyes for the Labour Party, despite what ordinary members think. But if voters across the country simply got rid of MPs' who have had their noses in the trough - or punished political parties for failing to take tough action - that would be the best and quickest way to force Westminster clean up its act. Parliament is now in recess until October - but the arguments will resume again in the autumn - and as MPs' face their day of reckoning at the next general election.

Angry Union Members

The calls and e-mails keep coming in from angry readers - who say they were bamboozled into transferring their equal pay claim to one of the unions. Some people were panicked by false reports about hidden charges - others by nonsense about Stefan Cross going out of business. One person was rightly outraged that the union claimed to be acting on her behalf – even though she had never been a member of that union. But in any event, the good news is that none of this union propaganda is true – and that any problems can be put right very quickly. You can switch your claim back to Action 4 Equality Scotland and Stefan Cross very easily – and given how the unions often treat their members - that’s exactly what people are now doing. Here’s what one reader has to say: “As a union member for over six years I have had a few dealings with them, but I never get anywhere. You pay your money and get the same answer every time - nothing they can do to help.” “Their favourite answer is put it in

Noses, Troughs and Norwich North

A by–election is taking place today in the constituency of Norwich North – the first of its kind since the MPs’ expenses scandal. In fact, the election is being held precisely because of the expenses scandal – because the sitting MP, Ian Gibson, resigned his seat. He did so after being told by the Labour Party’s Star Chamber (which is investigating alleged wrongdoers) that he would not be allowed to stand for Labour at the next general election. The incredible thing is that the Ian Gibson did the right thing by resigning – but he did so for the wrong reason – because he is adamant that he did nothing wrong. What he did was to buy a flat in 1999 for £195,000 – and paid for the upkeep and maintenance costs out of his MP’s accommodation allowance – over four years he claimed £80,000 in mortgage interest and bills. Nothing wrong with that in itself – because MPs should not be out of pocket for having to live in London when Parliament is sitting – commuting is not an option for most,

Windy Rhetoric and Hidden Agendas

The trouble with the unions is that they’re not open, transparent organisations – they’re full of windy rhetoric and hidden agendas, much of which is driven by party politics – instead of what’s in the best interests of ordinary union members. What you see is definitely not what you get. Take their campaign to poach ongoing clients from Action 4 Equality Scotland and Stefan Cross – they tell people a lot of baloney about hidden charges and suchlike - scare stories which are simply not true. But what they fail to point out is that: 1. The unions allowed the employers to get away with murder – and just looked on from the sidelines while thousands of low paid union members accepted poor offers of settlement from their employers 2. The GMB union is not even involved in the important Glasgow GMF ‘defence’ hearing – where the council has to try and justify the big differences in pay between traditional male and female jobs 3. In many areas the unions are not fighting for equal pay on b

Lording It Up!

Investigative journalism is alive and well, it seems. At the weekend, the Sunday Times ran a really interesting story - this time about expenses in the House of Lords. Now it’s been known for some time that the regime in the Lords is just a lax as the one in the House of Commons – but the paper has lifted the lid off the scandal that allows their lordships to claim generous tax free allowances - just for signing in at their place of ‘work’ The ST’s insight team tracked Chris Smith (now Lord Smith of Finsbury) - a former Labour culture minister who earns £220,000 a year from two quango jobs who and claims more than £20,000 a year for attending the Lords — all within the rules. Here’s summary of the paper’s report from Sunday 19 July 2009: “It took Lord Smith of Finsbury exactly 10 minutes to walk in and out of the House of Lords on Wednesday evening. He went straight to the chamber and stood near the door listening to the debate for four minutes before leaving. The quick visit mean

Action 4 Equality Scotland - and the unions

The trouble with the unions is that they behave just like politicians – they’re full of and ‘spin’ and disinformation. Why else were ordinary union members kept in the dark about for so many years – about the big pay differences between men and women’s jobs? Why else did it take Action 4 Equality Scotland and Stefan Cross to come along – before women members learned in 2005 about the big bonuses paid to traditional male jobs? The unions try to scare people away from Action 4 Equality Scotland and Stefan Cross – because we charge a fee. But we charge a fee for a professional service – unlike the unions. Many union members could argue that they are entitled to a refund – because took millions of pounds from their members in union contributions for all these years. Yet they failed to defend their women members’ interests over equal pay – and, of course, the non-bonus earning male jobs as well. What’s more - lots of people lost out financially, to the tune of thousands of pounds. T

Nice to See You, To See You - Nice!

This year's guest list for Chequers has just been released - i t shows all those invited to wine and dine with the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown - at his lavish grace and favour retreat in the heart of Buckinghamshire (aka middle-England). In 2007/08 the cost of entertaining all the guests came to a mere £78,900 – but in these belt tightening, recessionary times the PM let rip – and almost doubled the budget to a whacking great £136,000 in 2008/09. That’s one a hell of a lot of sausage rolls – so times can’t be that hard, in government circles at least. As usual the great and good were all there – the stars of stage and screen – including old twinkle toes and presenter of Strictly Come Dancing - Bruce Forsyth, who’s had more comebacks than Frank Sinatra, but it still going strong at the grand old age of 81. Among other guests to raise a few eyebrows (looking backwards at least) were Sir Fred Goodwin – formerly Chief Executive of the Royal Bank Scotland – more recently elevated t

Glasgow - Compromise Agreements

As regular readers know - Stefan Cross Solicitors is challenging Glasgow City Council’s Compromise Agreement. In November and December 2005 council employees were required to sign a Compromise Agreement – before the council would release a compensatory payment in return for people ‘giving up’ their equal pay claims. Glasgow workers who took up their claim via Stefan Cross achieved a much better outcome – than those who accepted the council’s original offer of settlement. But Stefan Cross believes the Compromise Agreement can be challenged – because employees did not receive proper advice about the nature or size of their equal pay claims – or their prospects of pursuing a successful claim to the Employment Tribunals. In addition, council employees were unaware (at the time) that Glasgow City Council were paying the fees of the legal firms attending the ‘acceptance’ meetings – and also that the council required these legal firms to restrict the scope of their advice to council emplo

MPs' Expenses - Food for Thought

As MPs leave Westminster for a mammoth 82 day summer recess - they've been given some food for thought by Duncan Bannatyne - a fellow Scot and lively host of the BBC's Dragons' Den programme Mr Bannatyne has made some typically forthright comments about about MPs' expenses - and is reported as saying: "I'd ask them if they were embarrassed about what had happened. If that was me, I wouldn't be able to show my face. It's despicable that so many of them have ripped off the taxpayer!" "Absolutely despicable!" "My advice would be: find a job that actually helps people and do that job for five years without pay. Then you might have made up for what you've done to this country," Duncan told the Radio Times. Meanwhile the revelations about MPs' outside earnings continue apace. Jimmy Hood, Labour MP for Lanark and Hamilton East has registered outside earnings as a parliamentary consultant to Scottish Coal - Jimmy is p

Glasgow Meetings

A number of Glasgow readers have been in touch about the possibility of holding a local meeting - for a general update - and to discuss some of the recent shenanigans involving the unions. Well that's no problem, in principle - all that's needed is a likely place to meet. If you have somewhere in mind locally - then get in touch with Mark Irvine with a suggested date and time - and to check on availability before finalising any arrangements. You can either ring Action 4 Equality Scotland on 0845 300 3 800 or drop Mark a note at: markirvine@compuserve.com

Union Dirty Tricks

A number of readers from Glasgow have been in touch - to say that they were misled into transferring their equal pay claims to the GMB. Apparently, they were told by a local union rep that Stefan Cross had gone out of business and that the union would be taking over their claims – and would they mind signing this piece of paper! Being trusting souls they took things at face value at the time – but now realise they were duped - as a result they are now switching their claims back to Action 4 Equality Scotland and Stefan Cross. You’ve got to hand it to the unions for bare faced cheek – they’ve done so little for their members over equal pay for so many years - yet they have the brass neck to try and poach clients from right under our noses - using any means, fair or foul. But there’s a silver lining in every cloud – and what this means is that we’ve now got the perfect reason to tell the truth about the unions – and how badly they behaved towards their own members . Normally we’ve got be

Angry Classroom Assistants

Here's an interesting note from a regular reader who is also Classroom Assistant - she's been keeping track of recent developments on the blog site. Hi Mark I am a Classroom Assistant I think it is appalling that refuse workers and roadsweepers are paid more than Classroom Assistants - the male jobs men don't have the emotional, physical or mental stress that we have to cope with on a daily basis in our jobs. We assist children with their learning needs - but we are also involved in caring for the children - many of whom have medical conditions or other special needs that might involve physiotherapy, speech therapy or occupational therapy. The men don't have the emotional or mental stress of working closely with such children and helping them to get the most out of their education. While the men's jobs may be important - they can't be any more important that the jobs we do - and the fact that they are paid so much more is a disgrace. Yours sincerel

Angry Home Carers

Angry Home Carers from North Lanarkshire have been in touch – to say that although there are two grades of home carer within the council – they all do exactly the same work and look after the same group of clients. So, why – people want to know - are some carers on a lower grade than others? I’m afraid we can’t answer that without some more details – but if people want to get in touch, we can arrange to get together - and get to the bottom of what’s going on. Needless to say, if the trade unions had been doing their job properly – this sort of nonsense would never be allowed to happen. And if somehow it had happened there would at least be an almighty row - and a public campaign to ensure fair treatment for all groups. But that’s not what the trade unions are about these days – sadly. So, if you want to do something about the situation – ring Action 4 Equality Scotland on 0845 300 3 800 Or get in touch with Mark Irvine at: markirvine@compuserve.com

Nothing to Hide? (2)

We’ ve had a great response from our readers in South Lanarkshire – regarding the history of the Land Services Operative 3 (Level 2) post - see post dated 1 July 2009. According to people within the council who know the history of what happened with this new 'single status' job – it clearly does exist - contrary to what the council said in response to our original information request. So, we have now asked for an official review of the council’s initial response – and if that doesn ’t elicit a proper answer – then an appeal will follow to the Scottish Information Commissioner . Here’s a summary of the latest Freedom of Information letter to South Lanarkshire Council: Dear South Lanarkshire Council FOI Review Request I refer to the attached letter from Sheila McKenzie, Council Personnel Officer, dated 19 June 2009. I have to say to you that I consider the council’s response to my FOI request to be deliberately misleading, obstructive and unhelpful. My understandi

Edinburgh and Job Evaluation

Classroom Assistants from Edinburgh have been in touch to say they’re bitterly disappointed about the outcome of the council’s job evaluation (JE) scheme. Apparently these vitals jobs have not benefited from the review - and have by and large stood still – which is odd because it’s exactly this kind of job that should have improved its lot under Single Status. The whole idea of Single Status was to give a better deal to the thousands of female dominated jobs that had been undervalued and underpaid for years – that’s what the employers and unions signed up to in 1999. We will be able to say more when we get the chance to study the scheme and the scores for all council jobs – that were put through the evaluation process. Although JE is supposed to be completely transparent – some councils set out to make it about as clear as mud. But it does beggar belief that the council and the trade unions have taken 10 years – to come up with results that disappoint so many people. The Single S

Nannies and Cleaners

The latest MP to be exposed in the never ending expenses scandal is a Tory from Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, Jonathan Djanogly. Mr D is a millionaire apparently – but one who felt it quite proper to claim £13,000 from the public purse – for a cleaner who doubled up as nanny to look after his children. The Daily Telegraph has reported that several Conservative activists in Mr Djanogly’s constituency have questions about the expense claims made by their MP to pay domestic staff. He has already agreed to repay £25,000 — including, it seems, some of the £13,000 paid for cleaning — and has said he will not claim the second home allowance until the expenses system has been reformed. Apparently Mr D has not made any claims since April 2009 – which is better late than never - but surely he doesn’t expect the public to be grateful? An analysis of Mr Djanogly’s expenses disclosed that he claimed an average of £400 a month for a “cleaner” for his second home. Some claims were up to £640,

Action 4 Equality Scotland - and the unions

We’re pleased to report that the trade unions’ poaching campaign is beginning to backfire. Seems like all the recent propaganda has brought home just how terrible the unions are – at standing up for their members over equal pay. “Why are they trying to jump on the bandwagon now – after so many years of silence over equal pay”?, is the question many people’s minds. We’re receiving enquiries from readers who say they were duped into transferring their claims to the unions – and can we switch back to Action 4 Equality Scotland and Stefan Cross? Well the answer to that is YES – all you need to do is to let us know - and we’ll take case of the rest. Contact Action 4 Equality Scotland on 0845 300 3 800 or e-mail Mark Irvine at: markirvine@compuserve.com The reality is that the trade unions are not serious about equal pay – they’ve consistently let their members down for the past 10 years – and they’re regarded as a soft touch by the employers. That’s why the great majority of

Gissa Job! (2)

Press reports about MPs, their outside earnings and second or even third jobs - continue to throw up some interesting names and information. The Tories have their usual suspects – as everyone expected – but what’s more fascinating are the names and details of Labour MPs. Because you would have thought – or at least hoped – that MPs from the People’s Party would realise that it doesn’t look good for you to have a full-time job working on behalf of your constituents. Yet still find the time to pursue all kinds of other outside interests – and highly lucrative ones at that. In other walks of life, if you do a demanding full-time job – you’re not free just to take on other paid work without permission – because there’s a potential conflict of interest – over the competing demands for your time and energy. And because MPs’ only answer to their boss (i.e. the voters) once every 4 or 5 years – no one really manages this conflict of interest – it’s left up to MPs’ judgment and common sens

Action 4 Equality Scotland - and the unions

Actions speak louder than words Action 4 Equality Scotland has led the fight for equal pay for the past 4 years – when the unions were in the driving seat equal pay was dead in the water. It’s clear some employers are hoping the unions will make a comeback – because they regard the unions as a soft touch – but in reality the unions are a busted flush on equal pay. We have a track record of achieving much better settlements than the unions – and we’ve told people the truth about equal pay from Day 1. We are currently in settlement discussions with various councils including Glasgow, Falkirk and Edinburgh. Can I switch my equal pay claim to Stefan Cross? Yes, of course you can – all you need to do is to give written authority to transfer your case – if you need any help ring Action 4 Equality Scotland on 0845 300 3 800 or drop Mark Irvine a note at: markirvine@compuserve.com The unions say they won’t charge a fee? Yes, but it’s not the whole story. The unions have sold their membe

Male Workers' Claims

The recent breakthrough case male claimants at the Employment Appeal Tribunal – see post dated 25 June 2008 - has understandably generated a great deal of interest . Lots of readers have been in touch to say “Well done” to Action 4 Equality Scotland - and Stefan Cross Solicitors. Because when male members raised the issue with their trade unions – they were told to get lost - that they had no chance of success. But now the worm has turned – and the stance taken by Stefan Cross has been completely vindicated - by the recent landmark case of McAvoy v South Tyneside Borough Council at the Employment Appeal Tribunal. The underlying issue was always about common sense and the right equal treatment under the law – about treating both men and women fairly – even though the majority of equal pay claimants in Scotland are female. The key point is that the groups of male workers - who never received bonus payments – always had an argument – so long as female council workers were successful

Edinburgh - New Contracts

A number of readers have been in touch because Edinburgh City Council is about to issue new contracts of employment - presumably on the back of its long awaited job evaluation (JE) scheme. Council managers have been doing the rounds telling staff that they have to sign the new contracts - or else. But we've been here before with other councils - and there's nothing to get over excited about. Remember the council and the trade unions have only been at this malarkey for the past 10 years - so nothing is going to happen overnight. The key points are: Don't panic - and don't sign anything without getting proper advice And, no you won't get the sack - you won't lose your job - so don't worry If and when you do get a new contract, send a copy of any council documents you do receive to: Stefan Cross Solicitors Buddle House Buddle Road Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE4 8AW Meantime sit tight and don't agree to anything - there's no need to at this stage - S

Now There's a Thing!

Edinburgh city council’s ongoing dispute with its refuse workers over equal pay proves one thing. The trade unions don’t hesitate to take tough action to defend the interests of their bonus earning male members. Nothing wrong with that – that’s what unions are for – albeit they’re not supposed to operate on a selective basis - 'all for one and one for all', etc etc. If the trade unions believe they need to take industrial action, organise a full-blown strike or run a big high-profile public campaign to defend their members’ interests – well that’s what people expect. After all - dogs bark, birds fly, and fish swim in the sea. But – over the past 10 years – guess how many strikes or high profile public campaigns there have been - to defend the rights of women council workers to equal pay? None – zero – zilch. Says it all, really.

Making Omelettes and Breaking Eggs

There’s an old saying that you can’t make an omelette without breaking an egg – and that’s just as true when it comes to equal pay. The point is that you can’t have equal pay – unless you eliminate the unjustified pay differences between men and women’s jobs. If all you do is just you maintain pay differentials – with smoke and mirrors – then you’re kidding people on – and that’s not a solution, it’s just an old-fashioned con trick. What the employers and trade unions signed up to in 1999 – was a new deal for thousands of female dominated jobs that had been undervalued and underpaid for years. What this should have meant – 10 years ago (over a period when council budgets doubled) – was a big pay increase for many of the female dominated jobs – cooks, carers, classroom assistants etc., to name just a few. If the employers couldn't afford to close the old pay gap all in one year – the solution was simply to phase it in over 2, 3 or even 4 years. But at the end of that period –

"It's a Load of Old Tripe"

Readers in North Lanarkshire are the latest to report poaching more efforts by the unions – this time the local Unison branch. According to reports Unison is holding a series of meetings on consecutive Saturdays - and significantly, the council is allowing local schools to be used as venues for these meetings. Help from the employers always comes at a price – the council is assisting Unison because they see the union as a softer option - than Action 4 Equality Scotland and Stefan Cross. Curiously, the union’s pitch is that if 100 people transfer their claims from Stefan Cross – then Unison will take them up! Sounds like a third-rate service and the obvious question that springs to mind is – “Why does the local union branch need 100 claims – before it will get off its lazy backside?” Must be some kind of dodgy deal going on behind the scenes - because remember this is the same Unison branch that tried to sell North Lanarkshire’s original single status package – through joint present

False Dates and Deadlines

A number of readers from Glasgow have been in touch about the GMB’s ongoing poaching campaign. According to reports local union stewards are telling union members who are pursuing equal pay claims with Stefan Cross – that they should transfer their claim to the GMB by 18 July 2009 – otherwise they risk losing out on their right to bring a claim altogether. But like so much union advice – this is complete baloney – the story is nonsense and has been made up from beginning to end. The truth is that anyone pursuing an equal pay claim with Stefan Cross should just tight – because we’re well ahead in the game. Your claim is already well advanced – there’s nothing that you need to do while your case is being resolved – and anyone that’s says differently is winding you up, for their own purposes. In fact, it’s the people who have taken up claims with the GMB that should be really worried – because the union is not even part of the important GMF test case in Glasgow that recently adjourn

Gissa Job!

Hot on the heels of the expenses scandal comes another thorny issue for our MPs – they must now register what other paid work they do in addition to their day jobs as ‘honourable’ members. Now most commentators thought this issue would cause maximum embarrassment to the Tory Party – because many of Tory MPs enjoy considerable earnings from second or even third jobs outside Parliament - ‘moonlighting’ as it’s commonly called. Bear in mind that MPs’ are paid a substantial salary (£64,466) and benefit from a generous final salary pension scheme – just for doing their day jobs. If you ask a politician about their hours of work, many of them will tell you that they work all the hours under the sun – that there’s not enough time in the day/week/month/year – blah, blah, blah. A Lib Dem MP told listeners on BBC radio the other day that he worked an average 70-80 hours every week! Many also say that while they enjoy long spells away from Parliament – they’re not actually on holiday or h

South Lanarkshire - Diary Dates

Good news for South Lanarkshire claimants – the Glasgow employment tribunal has set the following series of dates to hear the challenge to the council’s ‘in house’ 555 job evaluation scheme. September: 29 and 30 October: 1, 2, 9 and 26 November: 30 December 9, 10, 17 and 18 South Lanarkshire is unique amongst councils in Scotland – no one else has completely ignored the nationally recommended job evaluation scheme - and introduced anything as bizarre as the 555 grading scheme We believe there are serious flaws in South Lanarkshire’s job evaluation scheme which can be summarised as follows: 1. The pay and grading process is not open and transparent 2. Council employees cannot discover how their own jobs are valued 3. Council employees cannot discover how other council jobs have been valued 4. The Council claims but can’t substantiate trade union support for the JE scheme 5. Most female dominated council jobs remain stuck at the bottom of the pay ladder 6. Single Status in South Lana

Jobs for the Boys

Now there's a surprise - Michael Martin, former Glasgow Labour MP and speaker of the House of Commons - has been elevated to the House of Lords. Michael Martin was the first Commons speaker to be ousted in 300 years - over his handling of the MPs ' expenses scandal - yet he has been rewarded for his performance - with a seat in the unelected 'noble' chamber. As well as being kitted out in a new set of ermine robes - the former speaker will be entitled to claim the generous allowances and expenses paid to their lordships - while drawing a pension that's based on his final salary in the Commons - which was a whacking great £146,041 a year. The Lords Appointments Commission (an independent vetting panel) apparently expressed concern that Michael Martin's appointment could damage its reputation - but was overruled by the Prime Minister, according to press reports. Little wonder that so many people are so disillusioned with Westminster - and the antics of

South Lanarkshire Council - Nothing to Hide?

South Lanarkshire Council has responded to our recent FOI request in typical fashion – below is a summary of an earlier post to the blog site explaining the background to the request. Instead of giving a straight answer to a straight question – the council has responded by saying that: “...we do not have a post title Land Services Operative LSO 3 (2).” Now this truly amazing. Because we already know - from what South Lanarkshire council employees have told us - that one of the ‘old’ council jobs absorbed into the new ‘single status’ job of Land Services Operative 3 (Level 2) - was that of a council Refuse Driver (at Manual Worker Grade MW 4). And there may be others as well. So, before responding - by asking for a review and then appealing over the council’s head to the Scottish Information Commissioner – we thought we’d ask readers in South Lanarkshire for help. If you can shed some light on the history of Land Services Operative 3 (Level 2) – get in touch with Mark Irvine at ma