Saturday, 25 July 2009

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 – because the union is also asking for a delay of up to 18 months for a GMF hearing to be held!

Unison, through its lawyers, is asking for the GMF hearing to be delayed until late 2010 – because they’re too busy with other things!

How crazy is that?

Well our view is that the whole thing is completely ridiculous – how can Unison be lining up alongside the employer – when ordinary claimants are being messed about in this way?

If the union and its lawyers are too busy to fight these cases – the obvious question is: “Why did they take them on in the first place?”

In any event the people who should not pay the price of any further delay – are the individual claimants – who have already waited far too long to have their cases heard.

So, if you’re a Unison member – our advice would be to kick up merry hell with the union - and make it clear that any further delay is completely unacceptable.

And if you’re fed up with this nonsense altogether – you can always transfer your claim to Action 4 Equality Scotland.

Ring us on 0845 300 3 800 or drop Mark Irvine an e-mail at: markirvine@compuserve.com