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Showing posts from January, 2010

Globespan - Travel Weekly Magazine

Travel Weekly - a trade magazine for the airline industry - has picked up on the Globespan campaign - here's what Travel Magazine reporter, Chloe Berman, had to say: Glo bespan staff seek wages claim from courts (28 January 2010) Disgruntled former Globespan employees could take their case to an employment tribunal after they lost their jobs a week before Christmas. Globespan’s 650 full-time staff, including cabin crew, ground staff and check-in clerks, were left unemployed when the airline failed in December 2009. Independent consultant and former trade union official Mark Irvine, who writes the Action 4 Equality Scotland blog, organised a meeting in Edinburgh earlier this month after receiving enquiries from the airline’s workers. He said former Globespan staff could claim for a protective award, which occurs when more than 20 workers lose their jobs without notice or consultation. Companies are still obliged to consult a representative of employees, such as a trade union, i

Access to Justice

Action 4 Equality Scotland has played an crucial role in widening access to justice - for thousands of low paid workers in Scotland's public services - the majority of whom are women. Action 4 Equality Scotland is now pursuing over 12,000 equal pay claims in the Employment Tribunals - but before we arrived on the scene in August 2005 - equal pay was a dead issue in Scotland. The landmark 1999 Single Status (Equal Pay) Agreement - hailed as historic at the time by employers and trade unions alike - was stuck firmly in the doldrums, going nowhere fast. Now equal pay is back at the top of the agenda - the employers have been forced to respond by the action we have taken in the courts. The trade unions have been shamed into taking up claims on behalf of some of their members at least - though many more have been let down - including many non-bonus earning male workers and much of the workforce in South Lanarkshire Council, for example. In the space of five years things have change

Freedom of Information

All kinds of interesting information keeps tumbling out of the Chilcott Inquiry into the Iraq war. Previously classified information - including the highly confidential advice given by civil servants to government ministers - is now out in the open, where it belongs. People can now make up their own minds - based on the evidence and advice that was available to the government at the time - and that's what Freedom of Information is all about. Some commentators are demanding that even the private notes between Prime Minister Blair and President Bush - should be put into the public domain. And why not? After all they were not acting as private citizens - but on behalf of their respective governments. Yet, while these high affairs of world diplomacy are under the most intense scrutiny - it's worth remembering that South Lanarkshire Council is still trying to keep secret - what its refuse workers and gardeners are paid.

Wishful Thinking

A reader from North Lanarskhire has been in touch to ask: "Can you tell me if there's any truth in the rumour that Action 4 Equality Scotland and Stefan Cross have pulled out of cases involving North Lanarkshire Council?" Well the answer is an emphatic - NO - maybe the rumour is just wishful thinking on the part of the council and the trade unions. But in any event it is complete baloney - tosh from start to finish. In fact there's good news to report about North Lanarkshire - because a GMF hearing has now been listed - and the council will finally have to face the music in April 2010. Details of the hearing will follow - claimants are entitled to attend and hear what's going on - first-hand. Action 4 Equality Scotland has now written to the council - and is also contacting MPs and MSPs in the North Lanarkshire Council area. So, far from pulling out - things are getting into top gear. Watch this space for further news.

Labour and the Unions

Scotland on Sunday reported yesterday that time has finally run out for Anne Moffat MP - a former president of Unison - who was installed into Labour's East Lothian consituency with the support of the trade unions. The newspaper described Anne Moffat as one of Labour's most controversial Scottish MPs - and went on to report that she had been effectively deselected by her local party - following concerns about her erratic behaviour and anger over her travelling expenses. Read the full article at http://www.scotsman.com/ - here are the key points: "Party ditches controversial MP Scotland on Sunday can reveal that activists have voted overwhelmingly to unseat Anne Moffat as MP for East Lothian and are seeking a candidate to replace her before the general election. Assuming the decision is ratified by the National Eexecutive Ccouncil, Moffat will become the second sitting Scottish Labour MP to be deselected in the run-up to the election. Jim Devine, the Livingston MP, wa

All in the Family

The Sunday Times today lays bare the behaviour of another Westminster MP - who used his family to exploit expenses - http://www.timesonline.co.uk/ - h ere's a summary of the paper's investigation into Labour MP David Chaytor. MP David Chaytor used daughter in expenses scam David Chaytor, pretended his daughter was his landlord so he could claim almost £13,000 in expenses from the Commons for “renting” a flat that he himself owned. David Chaytor, MP for Bury North, drew up a tenancy agreement with his daughter but disguised their relationship by giving her middle name as her surname. Land Registry records show that Chaytor and his wife were the real owners of the property and there was no reason to claim his rent from the Commons. The mortgage had been paid off. He is being investigated by the police after it was alleged he had claimed interest payments for a “phantom” mortgage that had already been paid off. So far Chaytor has gone along with the false assumption that h

MPs' Expenses - The Saga Continues

Still no end in sight to the ongoing MPs' expenses scandal - the latest 'honourable' member to come unstuck is Harry Cohen - Labour MP for Leyton and Wanstead. Yesterday's newspapers reported how the MP has been ordered to forfeit a £65,000 re-settlement grant - after a particularly serious breach of parliamentary rules. Somehow or other - but not deliberately, of course - this otherwise intelligent MP managed to claim £70,000 in housing expenses - for a property he was not actually living in at the time. In fact he was renting it out - and by all accounts seems to have walked away with a tidy profit - even after giving up his £65,000 (normally paid to MPs on leaving the House of Commons). But he didn't resign in disgrace - he didn't have the party whip withdrawn - in fact he's still there drawing a handsome salary all the way to the general election. Here's a summary of the report in the Times newspaper - the full article can be read online at

Edinburgh City Council - Stop Press

Further discussions about a possible settlement with Edinburgh City Council - have concluded on a positive note. One or two details need to be double checked - but everything looks to be on course - as reported on the blog site last week. Action 4 Equality Scotland will be writing to Edinburgh clients - with all the details - by the end of next week, or as soon as all the paperwork from the council is received. So, in the meantime - sit tight - and await further developments. The council's settlement offers extend only to female employees in former manual worker posts. The fight for equal pay on behalf of former APT&C employees and groups of male workers will continue - with an important appeal hearing taking place in April 2010.

South Lanarkshire

Here's an previous post from the blog site - the trade unions are now panicking about advice they've given to members in South Lanarkshire Council - not to pursue equal pay claims. Because the unions gave the very same advice to many of their non-bonus earning male members (janitors, drivers and so forth) in other councils - and that advice has now blown up in their faces - like an exploding cigar. So, ordinary members have lost out financially, big time - and many of them are thinking about how to hold their trade unions to account - for giving them such poor and costly advice. The same scenario could be replayed in South Lanarkshire - which is the only council in the whole of Scotland - where the trade unions are still actively dissuading members from protecting their own interests - by taking up an equal pay claim. Maybe union members in South Lanarkshire ought to be asking just what this advice is based upon - is it firm legal advice and if so, why not share the details

Globespan Campaign

We had a very useful meeting about Globespan in Edinburgh last week - several new contacts came along and the campaign is growing day by day. What is clear is that many people have significant claims - see post dated 4 January 2010 - but they are not receiving much practical advice or help. But by all accounts the entire Globespan workforce was dumped upon - from a great height - and no one knew in advance how bumpy the landing would be. Different groups of staff - ground staff, cabin crew and pilots - all have potential claims for a protective award - because of the lack of consultation and prior warning over the company's failure. So, too do the employees of Alba baggage handling in Edinburgh - this was part of the Globespan Group - and the Edinburgh-based staff lost their jobs as well when the company collapsed. E-Clear, the company responsible for online ticket sales at the failed airline Flyglobespan, has now been placed into administration - whether that helps or hinder

Monument v Movement

Michael McGahey - the former NUM Scotland leader - was no slouch at standing up for his members - the miners. One of his most famous and insightful comments came during the miners' strike of 1984/85 - when he proclaimed - with supreme confidence - that the unions were a 'movement' not a 'monument'. In other words, given fair and reasonable treatment - the unions were not stuck in the past - and could move with the times. Yet, Michael McGahey was undone by intransigence - both inside and outside the NUM (National Union of Mineworkers) - so we will never know whether a different outcome to that bitter dispute was ever possible. But is history now repeating itself - in the airline industry. British Airways (BA) is hundreds of millions of pounds a year - and that was before an abortive strike last Christmas which was overturned in the courts at the last minute - to widespread public widespread acclaim. BA has cut back on the number of cabin crew per flight - so th

Glasgow Enquiries

Lots of phone calls and e-mail from Glasgow readers - in the past few days. Forms are being returned to Action 4 Equality Scotland in their hundreds every day - and these have to be logged and checked - before they can be sent on to Glasgow City Council. A significant number have also had to be re-issued because the forms have not been completed properly - signed in the wrong place, for example . So, it would be helpful if people could take extra care with this paperwork - because having to send out new forms again - just slows the whole process down. Everyone is working hard to complete the exercise as quickly as possible.

Transparency v Secrecy

A number of readers have been in touch about South Lanarkshire - and the great mystery behind the council's 'in-house' job evaluation (JS) scheme. See post dated 15 January 2010 - "Job Evaluation". After all, this is public money we're talking about - and plenty of it to boot. Why is the council so reluctant to explain the identity of those behind South Lanarkshire's JE scheme - what they were paid - and what professional credentials they possessed? No other council in Scotland is behaving in this way. People living and working in South Lanarkshire are perfectly entitled to ask what the council has done in their name - so why do council officials go to such lengths to keep such information from public scrutiny? If you would like to help flush things out into the open - drop Mark Irvine an e-mail at: markirvine@compuserve.com Individual FOI requests from local people in South Lanarkshire may help to break the present logjam. No doubt it will also he

Single Status v Second World War

One of our readers from Edinburgh has been in touch to say that the trade unions are trying to blame Action 4 Equality Scotland - for the city council's decision to impose new contracts of employment. Now we are happy to accept responsiblity for our own actions - such as breathing new life into the whole issue of equal pay - after many years of dither and indecision by both the council employers and the trade unions. But the people who have taken 10 years - and still failed to reach agreement on Single Status - are Edinburgh City Council and their local trade unions - the largest and most influential of which is Unison. So, it's no good blaming others for your own failures - especially if your arguments don't make any sense. What ordinary union members will be more interested in finding out is: "How can Single Status in Edinburgh take longer to resolve than the Second World War (1939 - 1945)?

Edinburgh City Council

Several readers have been in touch to ask why Edinburgh City Council is making a further round of settlement offers - albeit not to all groups of staff at this stage. The reason is that the council has continued to pay the traditional male groups of workers (refuse workers and gardeners) - more than the traditional female groups (carers, catering staff and cleaners) - even after the first round of equal pay settlements. The first round of settlements covered the period up to 1 April 2007 - but beyond that date council employees have had a further and ongoing claim - which Action 4 Equality Scotland has continued to pursue. In addition, the council faces a GMF hearing in February 2010 - where it would have to explain and justify the big differences in pay between male and female groups. So, in preference to defending the indefensible - Edinburgh City Council has decided to try and reach a negotiated settlement.

Labour Peer In New Expenses Row

The Sunday Times today published another revealing article about expenses claims in the House of Lords - the full piece can be read on-line at - http://www.timesonline.co.uk/ - but here's a summary of the key points. "Baroness Uddin caught in second expenses row THE Labour peer Baroness Uddin may face a fresh fraud inquiry following the discovery of a second “home” address which she used to claim £91,000 expenses. Uddin claimed the home of her brother and his family in the Essex resort of Frinton-on-Sea was her main residence. Last week his wife said she could “not recollect” the Labour peer ever living there. Uddin is already being investigated by the police for claiming expenses of £98,000 for an almost empty flat in Maidstone, Kent, which she said was her main residence from October 2005. She claimed a total of £189,000 from the House of Lords by saying her main places of residence since 2001 have been outside the capital when, in reality, she has lived in the same

Job Evaluation

Here's an FOI request submitted recently to South Lanarkshire Council - regarding the background and credentials of their 'in-house' job evaluation (JE) scheme. Unlike other Scottish councils - who are happy to release such information without any fuss - South Lanarkshire is a very touchy about its JE scheme. So, they've refused the request - which will now be appealed to the Scottish Information Commissioner. Archie Strang Chief Executive South Lanarkshire Council By e-mail Dear Mr Strang Freedom of Information Request I would like to make the following enquiry under the Freedom of Information Scotland Act 2002. I would like to know: 1. What were South Lanarkshire Council’s reasons for not adopting the nationally recommended COSLA (Gauge) Job Evaluation Scheme (JES)? 2. What was South Lanarkshire Council’s share of the £250,000 costs of producing the nationally recommended COSLA JES? 3. Who were the creators or authors of South Lanarkshire Council’s 555 Job

Curioser and Curiouser

A number of regular readers of the Action 4 Equality Scotland blog site - went along to the recent employment tribunal hearings involving South Lanarkshire Council - in December 2009. What they reported back was very curious indeed. Apparently the council-side admitted in their evidence - that the results (scores and outcomes) of the 'in-house' job evaluation (JE) scheme were shared with the trade unions - years ago. Yet when South Lanarkshire union members asked their local reps for advice - they were told - less than helpfully - to contact the council. Here's what a previous letter from the local Unison branch had to say: "In regards to copies of Job Evaluation scores and other information you request, it is your employers (sic) responsibility to supply appropriate documentation. I therefore suggest you contact South South Lanarkshire Council for this". Stephen Smellie, Branch Secretary Now why should the unions play 'pass the parcel' in this way -

Edinburgh City Council

Edinburgh City Council has written directly to some Action 4 Equality Scotland clients - regarding new offers of settlement. The council should not be writing to clients directly - but says that this was done in error - and their apology has been accepted on that basis. If any Action 4 Equality Scotland clients have received such letters - you do not need to do anything at this stage. You do not need to respond - and you do not attend any council organised 'acceptance' meetings. Discussions are taking place with the council - because a GMF hearing is scheduled to take place next month - and the council is keen that this hearing should not go ahead - hence its desire to talk about a new round of settlements. So, in the meantime just sit tight - further, more detailed, advice will be issued shortly.

More MPs' Expenses

The Daily Telegraph highlighted yesterday that MPs who admit breaking expenses rules - have been offered secret Parliamentary deals to repay the money without being identified. The full article can be read on line at - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/ - but here's a summary of the key points. Immunity for MPs who repay expenses "Janet Anderson, a Labour MP, was allowed to secretly repay almost £6,000 last year for over-claiming "petty cash" on her taxpayer-funded expenses. Dozens of MPs are understood to have paid back money without their names or abuses being disclosed to the public following the fast-tracked inquiries into their conduct. The disclosure about the secret justice system will add to growing concerns over the safeguards in place to punish MPs found to have misused public funds. The behind closed doors system means voters are not being told if their MP has inappropriately claimed thousands of pounds for their second home, office or travel. The loophol

Trade Union News

Good news to report - the full-time official sacked by Unison after almost 30 years service with the union - has been reinstated. Apparently, an appeal panel has overturned the original decision - and quite rightly so in the eyes of every right-minded union person - that I've spoken to recently. Here's what was said on the blog site back in August 2009. Union Fires Official for Taking Side of Low Paid Women "Another fascinating article appeared in yesterday’s Sunday Herald – here are the key details of the piece - written by Paul Hutcheon. A veteran trade union negotiator has been sacked in the middle of a multi-million pound dispute over equal pay. Ken Seaward, a Unison regional organiser, was dismissed by his union after a fall-out over how to handle the thousands of pay claims made by low paid women. The 59-year old, who was fired for alleged misconduct, is understood to be a staunch critic of Unison urging its members to settle for a figure that protects counc

Argyll & Bute Council

Argyll & Bute cases are awaiting a CMD (Case Management Discussion) hearing – but the situation is similar to that in Clackmannanshire – see post dated 16 November 2009. Argyll & Bute has raised the same procedural points about the ability of claimants to use a full range of male comparators – but the fact is that the great majority of people have perfectly valid claims. The Local Government and Communities Committee of the Scottish Parliament recently urged councils to get down to business - to stop wasting time - and put a real effort into resolve all the outstanding claims. Some councils are still hiding behind these procedural arguments - though one by one they are beginning to see sense. We expect the procedural issues to be resolved in the claimants favour and if that happens in one council – then others are likely to go same way. In the meantime, we encouraging all councils, including Argyll & Bute Council, to consider making new settlement proposals - as a more sens

More JE News

Readers from Clackmannanshire have been in touch - about the council's new job evaluation (JE) scheme. Many people are disappointed with their new grades - and have asked their trade unions for advice. Apparently, the unions say the JE results are data protected - and that members are not entitled to know how other council jobs are scored and graded. But this is complete baloney. Job evaluation is not about the individual person - it has nothing to do with personal data - it's about the duties and responsibilities of a specific job. If someone applies for a vacant post - they are entitled to know what the job pays - and how the job is graded - and what skills, qualifications or experience the job requires. So, don't be fobbed off - people are entitled to know how the job evaluation scheme works - if this information is not released on request, why not submit a Freedom of Information (FOI) request?

MSPs' Expenses

The Sunday Herald ran an interesting article yesterday - highlighting some rather strange expenses claims from members of the Scottish Parliament. Apparently, during the first nine months of 2009 - MSPs claimed £1,509 in taxi fares between Holyrood and Waverly Station. For the uninitiated, the Holyrood Parliament is a very short walk from Waverly - 10 minutes at most - quite why any MSP should make such a claim in the first place is a mystery. Embarrassingly, Labour's transport spokesman Charlie Gordon - and former leader of Glasgow City Council - claimed for a taxi journey 53 times during this period. The amount of money may be small - but the relaxed attitude towards spending public money is a much bigger issue. The cost of travel for politicians and civil servants is considerable - in many cases they are allowed to travel first class - which seems a terrible waste of money in these harsh times. So, let's encourage the people to get out of their taxis - and first-

Birmingham City Council

The following story article appears in today's Sunday Times - www.timesonline.co.uk - needless to say the fight for equal pay in Birmingham is being led by Action 4 Equality and Stefan Cross Solicitors. The trade unions negotiated the bonus schemes - enjoyed exclusively by the men. And - as in other parts of the country, including Scotland - the unions deliberately kept women workers in the dark - about the huge differences in pay between traditional male and female jobs. COUNCIL ELECTRICIAN IS PAID £124,000 "A (Birmingham) council electrician has earned pay and bonuses of £124,000 in a year — far outstripping the remuneration of a minister of state or the head of a large comprehensive. He claimed more than £90,000 in overtime, backdated pay and “stand-by” allowances. By contrast, a minister of state such as Tessa Jowell, the Olympics minister, earns £106,136. Details of the electrician’s pay emerged in documents released by the UK’s biggest council, which show that 5

Investing in Cuts

For weeks now the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has been banging on about his government's plans to 'invest in public services'. Anyone willing to listen has been told repeatedly that the Labour government will actually increase spending in future - despite the evidence of their own eyes - and the all too obvious impact of the recession. But all of a sudden things have changed. The Labour-leaning Guardian newspaper reports today that the government is now signing a very different tune: "The chancellor, Alistair Darling, and the business secretary, Lord Mandelson, yesterday signalled a shift in government strategy when Darling warned that Britain faces the toughest spending round in 20 years if Labour is re-elected. Mandelson pointedly insisted that Labour is a national party that represents people in every part of the UK – an implicit rejection of any core vote strategy." The strapline given to this story by the Guardian is even more striking: "Ch

All in the Family

If anyone wants to know why MPs should keep their families and politics separate - look no further than the case of Peter and Iris Robinson. Not only are they both Westminster MPs - they are both Members (MLAs) of the Northern Ireland Assembly - and enjoy an 'extended' family income of around £572,000 from their joint salaries and expenses - according to The Mail newspaper. The Robinsons earn a combined total of £246,017 from their MP and MLA jobs - plus £71,434 that Peter Robinson is paid as Northern Ireland's First Minister (on top of his other salaries) - while Iris Robinson earns an extra £9,550 as a local councillor for Castlereagh. Just where do they find the time? In addition, Mr Robinson employed his daughter, Rebekah, as his office manager and private secretary, while his son, Gareth, is his parliamentary assistant. Not to be outdone, Mrs Robinson employs their elder son, Jonathan, as her office manager, and her daughter-in-law, Ellen, as a part-time secretary. The

MPs' Expenses

Today's newspapers contain more intriguing reports about the long overdue reform of MPs' expenses. Apparently the new chair of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), Sir Ian Kennedy - has indicated that he will abandon several key reforms. Firstly, existing MPs will be still able to profit from the sale of their taxpayer-funded second homes for the next five years - under IPSA's draft proposals. Secondly, MPs will also will also be able to nominate which of their properties is their “main” and “second” home for expenses – which led to many abuses in the past. Thirdly, MPs living within commuting distance of London will remain eligible to claim expenses for a second home - rather than having to travel to and from Westminster. Fourthly, IPSA is also having second thoughts about whether MPs should be able to continue employing their wives and other family members - at public expense. The decision to dilute several of the recommendations made orig

Election Fever

While the rest of country shivers and struggles with the arctic weather conditions - our politicians at Westminster have plenty of energy to burn - as they contemplate their fate at the forthcoming general election. Nerves are definitely getting frayed - even the prospect of an election gives politicians sleepless nights. At the moment, Labour - the governing party - looks a bit like the crew of the SS Titanic. Some of the older, wiser sea dogs are convinced they can see a nasty iceberg looming in their path. The mutinous members of the crew (Cabinet) have concluded that disaster awaits - if they don't change direction, fast - which means throwing their Captain (Prime Minister) overboard. But others are convinced that their sturdy craft (the SS Irn Broon) is completely safe and virtually unsinkable under the present leader - so they want to soldier on - 'steady as she goes' - even if it means they all go down with the ship. What long-suffering voters could do with - i

Globespan - Open Meeting

We've had several enquiries from former Globespan employees - in response to the posts on the blog site - dated 4 and 6 January 2010, respectively. As a result, we've decided to hold an Open Meeting for former Globespan employees - to explain the situation in more detail - and answer any questions people may have. Here are the details, if you'd like to come along - please let other people know as well: Date: Tuesday 12 January 2010 Time: 2pm to 4pm Venue: Action 4 Equality Scotland, 44 York Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3HU If you're free next Tuesday afternoon, drop by for a chat - if you're certain to attend, let us know in advance - as that will help with tea/coffee and other practical arrangements. If you need any other information at this stage, contact Mark Irvine at : markirvine@compuserve.com

Edinburgh City Council

Edinburgh is back in the news again - the council has been hitting the headlines with dire threats about staff being 'sacked' if they don't agree to new pay and grading proposals. The first thing to say is: "Don't Panic" - we have been here many times before - and there is nothing to worry about - no one is going to lose their job, whatever the newspapers say. Edinburgh is trying to change employees' contracts of employment. Why? Because after more than 10 years of talks with the unions - they still can't reach agreement on Single Status. So the council's fall-back position is to terminate all existing contracts - and issue new ones based on revised terms and conditions - but the can only do so after serving the required period of notice (up to 90 days). Edinburgh is also making new offers of settlement - but again only to some groups - male workers and those in former APT& C jobs are being left out in the cold again - which is very

Globespan - Keep Spreading the Word

Many thanks to our readers for spreading the word about the Globespan debacle - see previous post dated 4 January 2010. We've already had enquiries from a number of former Globespan employees - who confirm what the press and media reports said - they really were treated like dirt and given no prior warning about the company's collapse. In these circumstances, certain employment rights are guaranteed by the state - so that people left in the lurch - are not forced to do battle with a bankrupt company or incoming liquidator - whose first priority is seldom the staff. So, keep spreading the word - the more people that challenge the way they were treated - the better for all concerned.

Judge and Jury

The latest revelations about the 1994 Chinook helicopter crash - highlight the dangers of allowing people in powerful places - to be judge and jury in their own cause. The BBC reports that new evidence has emerged to suggest that computer software faults may have caused the 1994 Chinook helicopter crash on the Mull of Kintyre. The crash killed all 29 people on board - and the official RAF inquiry found the two pilots guilty of gross negligence. Yet an internal Ministry of Defence (MoD) document - written only nine months before the crash - admitted that the helicopter's software was "positively dangerous". The MoD insist the helicopter was airworthy and the latest information could not be classed as new evidence - because it was available to the internal RAF inquiry team. But crucially, this 'new' evidence was not released to ministers or shared more widely - nor was its significance explained in the official inquiry report. "Why not?” - is the obvious questi

Fife Council - GMF Hearing Dates

The GMF hearing involving Fife Council is scheduled to take place over four weeks in February and March 2010 - the actual dates are as follows: Week 1 : Monday 1- Friday 5 February 2010 Week 2 : Monday 8 - Friday 12 February 2010 Week 3 : Monday 1 - Friday 5 March 2010 Week 4 Monday 8 - Friday 12 March 2010 The venue for the hearings is the Employment Tribunal office in Edinburgh - at the following address: Edinburgh Employment Tribunal Office 54-56 Melville Street Edinburgh EH3 7HF Phone 0131 226 5584 Fife Council is considering a negotiated settlement of all the outstanding claims, but if these talks fail to make progress - the agreed GMF hearing dates will proceed as planned.

Globespan - Spread the Word

As many of our readers will know, Globespan - the Scottish based airline - suddenly went out of business in the run up to Christmas. Literally overnight, hundreds of employees were left high and dry by the company - even while some of them were stuck abroad - with no access to proper advice and support. If our readers know any former Globespan employees - pass the word that they may well have a claim for a Protective Award to the Employment Tribunals. The basis of their claim would be that they were dismissed by Globespan - without any consultation. A Protective Award can be worth up to three months salary - but no one is going to hand it over on a plate. People will have to fight for their rights - in the courts - as they've done over equal pay. Former employees might also have a claim - for all or some of the following - on top of a redundancy claim: 1. Unfair dismissal 2. 'Lost' holiday pay 3. Incorrect contract terms 4. Unpaid wages 5. Working time losses And s

Action 4 Equality Scotland

Action 4 Equality Scotland is putting the finishing touches to a new office base in Edinburgh. The Edinburgh office will become fully operational over the next few weeks - and once that happens it will be the first point of contact for all existing clients - and for potential new clients. All the relevant contact details - phone and fax number, address etc - will be posted here soon. So watch this space for further news.

Above the Law?

The Sunday Times has published another intriguing article on MPs ' expenses. The report can be read in full at: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/ and says that three Labour MPs being investigated for expenses fraud are arguing that they should not be prosecuted - because their suspect claims are covered by parliamentary privilege. Apparently, the MPs have hired legal experts to assert that the 1689 Bill of Rights protects them from prosecution. The report goes on: "The lawyers are understood to have sent detailed submissions to police and prosecutors which contend that the House of Commons rule book on expenses is “privileged” and cannot be subject to scrutiny by the courts. The legal manoeuvre raises the prospect of the case against the MPs being thrown out before it reaches trial or being bogged down for months in legal argument. Any delay would minimise the damage to Labour in the run-up to the general election. It is not known whether the MPs consulted Labour offi

Happy New Year!

A Happy New Year to all our readers - and all the very best to you and yours for 2010! Hard to believe, I know - but Action 4 Equality Scotland was officially launched 5 years ago - on Monday 16 August 2005 - via the lead evening news item on the BBC's Reporting Scotland programme. The next day just about every Scottish daily newspaper covered our plans - to breathe new life into the fight for equal pay - forcing the issue out of the doldrums and on to the front page. And the rest is history - as they say - because we succeeded beyond our wildest dreams - suddenly equal pay was back at the top of the news agenda. But until Action 4 Equality Scotland and Stefan Cross came along - equal pay was dead in the water - the employers and trade unions were both happy to turn a blind eye to widespread pay discrimination in the shape of a 'male only' bonus culture. Having promised a new deal under Single Status - the employers and unions simply failed to deliver the goods - and i