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Showing posts from May, 2010

Trade Union Democracy

Why are the trade unions so blinkered when it comes to party politics? At the general election, only 29% of the voting public supported Labour - 40% of the population didn't bother to vote for anyone at all, sad to say. The great majority of ordinary union members did not support the Labour Party - because they vote just the same way as everyone else. Uncomfortable as that may be for the trade union hierarchy - virtually 100% of whom are fully paid up Labour party members. As many people know, the big public sector unions (GMB, Unite and Unison) align themselves to only one political party - Labour. Despite the mixed and varied views of ordinary union members. But in addition the unions recruit at a senior level from a very shallow pool of talent - from amongst people who are already Labour Party members and supporters. Why - just where are all the SNP and Lib Dem supporters within trade union ranks? At a time when other civic organisations are trying to be more inclusive a

Workforce Pay and Benefits Review (WPBR)

Readers from Glasgow have been asking - what's happening with the claims associated with the council's Workforce Pay and benefits Review (WPBR)? Well, the answer is that these will not be considered until October 1020 - when a further Case Managment Discussion (CMD) has been scheduled. The cases have been 'sisted' or put on hold for the moment - because of the investigation that is underway by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) - details of which have been reported in a previous post. Arrangements for the CMD will be reported nearer the time - and individual Glasgow claimants are, as usual, entitled to attend.

Male Claims

Enquiries continue to flood in from readers who want to know what the rights of male workers are - in terms of equal pay. Here's an article explaining the background - that was first published on the Action 4 Equality Scotland blog site in 2009 - the contact phone number has been changed, but nothing else. The current position is that non-bonus earning male workers, generally speaking, do have a valid claim - but the situation varies from council to council. So, if you need a word about the position in your own council - contact Mark Irvine or ring Action 4 Equality Scotland on 0131 652 7366. "Monday, 10 August 2009 Male Workers' Claims The recent breakthrough case male claimants at the Employment Appeal Tribunal – see post dated 25 June 2009 - 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 t

South Lanarkshire - New Claims

Lots of new enquiries today from readers in South Lanarkshire - people want to know if they've left it too late to pursue an equal pay claim? Well the answer is that council employees in South Lanarkshire can still register a claim - in fact they have potentially plenty to gain - and nothing to lose. Because the unions have given up the ghost - they're not at the races - and despite a lot of brave talk the unions haven't taken up a single equal pay case in South Lanarkshire. The only way to protect your interests is to register an individual claim with the Employment Tribunals - nothing else will safeguard your position. The unions were telling their members recently not to worry - that any settlement achieved by Action 4 Equality Scotland would be extended to the unions as well. But this is a load of old baloney - a lot of hot air - not one council in Scotland has made settlement offers to employees out the goodness of their hearts. Settlement offers - in other counc

South Lanarkshire Meetings

Readers in South Lanarkshire are in touch on a regular basis - asking for information and feedback on a variety of topics such as: I haven't made an equal pay claim yet, is it too late to submit a claim now? Why is it so difficult to get basic pay information about how different council jobs are paid? How do I go about asking a Freedom of Information question? Should I contact and ask my local MSP for support? So, to try and answer everyone's questions - I am making myself available for a series of readers' meetings - over the coming weeks and months. If you want to organise a meeting in your own local area - just identify a suitable venue, make a provisional booking - and drop Mark Irvine a note to finalise arrangements at: markrvine@compuserve.com The answer to the first question, by the way is - No, it's not too late to register an equal pay claim in South Lanarkshire! If you want to do so - just e-mail Mark Irvine with your full name, address and post code.

More Kind Words

More kind words - this time from one of our regular 'APT&C' readers - who is clearly delighted at the recent EAT decision from Lady Smith (see post dated 23 May 2010). "Hi Mark, What great news about the former white collar workers! At last we're seeing some progress. You and your team must be delighted as we are. Keep up the good work and once again, THANK YOU!!! AW" Different councils had different arrangements - about which jobs were classified as former APT&C workers. But broadly speaking these include - Classroom Assistants, Special Needs Assistants, Admin & Clerical Workers (school and non-school based), Social Care Workers, Catering Managers etc, etc.

Travel Perks

So, it has come down to travel perks. 10,000 British Airways cabin crew have gone on strike today on behalf of around 1,400 of their colleagues whose travel perks are being reduced - no longer do the people concerned (and their families) get flights or first class tickets - at a huge discount. Now this is not what the strike was about - originally at least. The strike began over staffing levels and pay - but with British Airways posting record losses of over £500 million - the reality is that the company has to live within its means. The union, Unite, appears to have accepted the company's need to address its business costs - yet at the eleventh hour one of its Joint General Secretaries (Tony Woodley) makes a theatrical plea: 'Reinstate our members travel perks - and the planned strikes will be called off'. The sticking point is no longer some noble cause or vital principle - but has become the perks of a small group of members - whose interests are being raised

EAT Decision

As reported previously, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision by Lady Smith is a real landmark judgment - that vindicates the stance taken previously by Action 4 Equality Scotland and Stefan Cross. In her judgment Lady Smith reinforces and actually strengthens the decision of the earlier Employment Tribunal hearing from 2009 - where Edinburgh City Council was described as trying to 'defend the indefensible'. Likewise, Lady Smith has some caustic comments of her own for the council - at one point summing up their approach as being 'blinkered to reality'. Edinburgh City Council has wasted valuable time and large sums of public money in pursuing this ridculous argument - but now that they've lost hands down the council should do the decent thing and settle all the outstanding claims. If you would like a copy of the EAT decision - this can be sent to you by e-mail on request - if you drop Mark Irvine a note at : markirvine@compuserve.com

Former APT&C Workers

Lots of people have been in touch about the test case victory at the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) - on behalf of former APT&C workers who have outstanding equal pay claims. Here's what two regular readers had to say. "Hey Mark Edinburgh Equal Pay Claim Thought I was dreaming this morning when I logged onto the Action 4 Equality Scotland web site and read the good news. I am a Social Care Worker and have had an equal pay claim against Edinburgh City Council for three years now. So, fingers crossed we are now getting somewhere at last. Thanks for sharing the good news and keep up the good work. Regards EE" "Hi Mark, Congratulations Please send my congratulations to the Stefan Cross team for their fantastic work in securing the correct outcome for the staff in Edinburgh. Let's hope it is not too long before other councils see the error of their ways and settle theirs too! Keep up the good work - love the blogs! GJ"

Edinburgh - Test Case Victory

The recent test case at the Employment Appeal Tribunal - involving Edinburgh City Council - has resulted in a big victory for the claimants. The council appealed an earlier Employment Tribunal decision from 2009 - arguing that former APT&C workers could not compare themselves to former manual workers - for the purposes of equal pay. But the council's arguments were firmly rejected by Lady Smith at the Employment Appeal Tribunal - in what is likely to become a landmark judgment. The judgment opens the way for all the outstanding claims - which Action 4 Equality Scotland has been fighting on behalf of former APT&C employees. Here are some key points from the judgment - which has implications for all Scottish councils - not just Edinburgh. The EAT agreed that white collar Claimants (APT&C employees) can make claims based on the bonus of earning manual workers. The council argued that male manual workers were either not in the same establishment (e.g. gardeners and re

Glasgow - Compromise Agreement Challenge

The Employment Tribunal recently issued a written decision on the challenge to the Compromise Agreements used in Glasgow - the case of McWilliams and others v Glasgow City Council. The news is disappointing because the employment judge found ultimately in favour of the council - and the claimants' case was not upheld. The employment judge made some interesting comments on the case - here are a some extracts - that might be of interest to readers: "Glasgow City Council will pay £1,000 plus VAT in respect of each adviser (to a maximum of 5) who attends and advises clients at 3 group advisory sessions (each approximately 2 hours duration) on the same day." "Mr Bowers (for the council) submitted that advice is not an abstract concept. Here the agreement had been discussed and agreed with the unions." "The claimants undeniably did not get the advice they wanted and had reasonably expected to get. However unfortunate and uncomfortable that maybe, it is not t

Trade Union Ballots

The fuss about the 'unlawful' ballot of British Airways cabin staff is turning into a bit of a farce. Sure the unions chance their arm when it comes to membership ballots - databases are often woefully out of date - and the trade unions don't like the nuisance of having to publish full and factual results. Because some ballots are poorly supported - sometimes the significance or even legitimacy of a particular result - might be open to challenge or interpretation. But if so, the punishment should fit the crime - overturning the British Airways ballot result in the courts - declaring the whole business unlawful - seems rather disproportionate in the circumstances. Taking a legal sledgehammer to crack a nut is not the solution. In return the unions would be wise to adopt a policy of full and open disclosure - on all future ballot results, not just strike ballots - in which case these problems would never arise. In the past, unions have been quite happy to 'spi

North Lanarkshire

Action 4 Equality Scotland has now received new settlement offers from North Lanarkshire Council. All of these revised offers need to be carefully checked - on an individual basis. Only once this task has been completed - can the paperwork start to go out to clients - and this will happen on a phased basis. The aim is to start sending offers out by next Monday 24 May 2010 - and because of the large numbers involved this exercise will take several days to complete. So, please don't phone the office unless you have a genuine query - a friend or neighbour might receive their paperwork first - but that's nothing to get worried or upset about. If hundreds of people ring the office just to ask why they haven't yet received their papers - it just slows everything down. So, sit tight - stay calm - and everything will fall into place.

Midlothian Council

A number of readers from Midlothian have been in touch - to say that they've received unsolicited letters from the council. Apparently the letters state that all previous settlement offers have been withdrawn -and that any further communication will be made via Action 4 Equality Scotland or Fox Cross Solicitors. Because the council letter has come out of the blue - it's made some folks anxious. But it's absolutely nothing to worry about. Settlement discussions have been taking place with Midlothian in recent weeks - progress is being made - and we hope to have some news for people soon. Until we do - just sit tight.

Meeting the Costs of Equal Pay

As reported in last month several councils have applied to the Scottish Government for additional 'borrowing consents' - to help meet the back pay costs of settling their equal pay claims. All of the councils involved have now been approached - to see if they are prepared to make renewed settlement offers - in the light of these new circumstances. Any developments will be reported on the blog site - but readers are free to ask the same question of their local councillors and council leaders. Contact details will be available on your own council's web site "April 2010 Meeting the Costs of Equal Pay Several Scottish councils have asked the Scottish Government for permission to borrow extra funds - to help them meet the back pay costs of their outstanding equal pay claims. Here's what they've been allocated by way of additional 'borrowing consents' from the Scottish Government Clackmannanshire Council £1,513,000 East Dunbartonshire Council

Yehaa!

Here are some more kind words from one of our regular readers - glad to be of service. "Hi Mark, The money went in the bank today, yeeha! Many thanks to you and all the team at Action 4 Equality Scotland and Fox Cross - for all your hard work. It was well worth the wait. Best regards AS"

If At First You Don't Succeed

For almost a year now I have been asking South Lanarkshire Council to confirm the pay details of some of its traditional male jobs - in response to a Freedom of Information request. The council refused my request - which is par for the course - on the grounds that this information amounted to personal data. I asked for a review explaining that the information requested was clearly not personal - because it related only to the job and not to any individual person. The council stood by its original decision and the case was appealed to the Scottish Information Commissioner - who initiated an investigation. But since the original request was made the council has raised a new objection - never previously put directly to me - that the cost of meeting the request exceeded £600. If the cost of a meeting single request exceeds £600, the council is not under a legal FOI obligation to disclose the information - though it could do so on a voluntary basis, of course. When I heard this

Two Jags, Petrolheads and Sour Grapes

The Labour party's green credentials received a big boost recently - following the general election. 'Two Jags' John Prescott, the former Deputy Prime Minister - has been racing around the media circuit these past few days - fueled by a revolutionary and apparently limitless new power supply - sour grapes. Jeremy Clarkson - eat your heart out. As most people know by now, Labour lost around 100 seats to the Tories - and ended up with only 29% of the popular vote. Since then the Conservatives entered into a formal coalition with the Liberal Democrats - and then proceeded to form a government. But Two Jags can't accept this - he wants you (and me) to know that Labour really won the election - because everyone expected them to get an even worse kicking. The fact that Labour tried to outbid the Conservatives to stay in power - doesn't register with John Prescott - perhaps because it would make him look like a complete hypocrite. Nor does it seem to matter that the

Seizing the Day

Speaking as someone who did not vote Conservative at the general election - you have to admit that David Cameron has played a blinder in the past few days. At some point in the future - no doubt the wheels will come off the bogey. Just as the shine from Tony Blair and Alex Salmond gradually lost its lustre - with the passage of time and events. But for now and putting political prejudices to one side - the fact is that the Tory leader simply seized the day. Cameron played his hand better than anyone else - and the truth is he has left political opponents trailing in his wake. Such has been the speed of events, the sheer audacity of the project, that non-believers - inside and outside the Tory party - have been lost for words, more or less. Smarty pants commentators who only days ago spoke admiringly of Labour's last minute attempt to woo the Liberal Democrats into coalition - now hurl childish abuse about 'posh boys' running the country. Harold Wilson once com

General Update

As regular readers know, many councils have been doing everything they can - to frustrate and delay the consideration of people's equal pay claims. By arguing narrow, and ultimately irrelevant, procedural points - many councils have wasted time and tax payers money - instead of dealing with the merits of people's claims. The good news is that the tribunals have now decided this issue - which became known as the Highland Council point - in favour of the claimants rather than the employers. The employers argued that claimants had to name specific comparators and jump through other hoops - before their claims could even be considered - but this argument has been rightly thrown out by the tribunals. So, the way forward is clear - and Fox Cross Solicitors will be asking the tribunals to to set early dates for GMF hearings all of the outstanding cases. The past six months has seen a significant increase settlements - but the following councils have all been stuck in the mud for

End of an Era

So, it ended with a whimper not with a bang. After a last desperate attempt to cling on to power, Labour was finally forced to admit defeat after 13 long years - and Gordon Brown had no option but to leave No.10. For people who fought so hard to achieve a Labour victory in the 1997 general election - myself included - it was a day tinged with sadness and disappointment. A project that started out so well under Tony Blair gradually lost its way - as the government became increasingly out of touch - then arrogant and overbearing. We ended up with the incredible sight of a Labour government - a Labour government - supporting the Speaker's office in its tawdry efforts to keep the MPs' expenses scandal under wraps. Most of those who were at the birth of New Labour were present to witness its demise - Gordon Brown, Peter Mandleson and Alistair Campbell - Tony Blair with his usual impeccable timing managed to be otherwise engaged. Labour's track record is a mixed bag

The Politics of Gazumping

The antics of our politicians never cease to amaze. While they all claim to be acting in the national interest - we can see with our own eyes that many MPs would sell their grannies to win the prize of power - and the keys to 10 Downing Street. In years gone by, the housing market was rife with a scurrilous practice - known as 'gazumping'. More prevalent in England than Scotland - it involved a house owner negotiating with a single buyer over a property purchase. The seller having negotiated in 'good faith' and reaching agreement on price with the buyer - would then put things on hold and allow time for the legal niceties to be sorted out. But in the 1980's - famous for Gordon Gecko and his leitmotif 'greed is good' - gazumping was seen as fair game to many house owners. A product of its times - gazumping involved secret, duplicitous and parallel negotiations with another potential buyer - unbeknown, of course, to the original buyer. The purpos

What Happens If?

A number of readers have been in touch to ask: "What happens if I leave my job with the council - do I lose my equal pay claim?" No, definitely not - is the simple answer. All that happens is that your claim freezes on the last day of your employment - because you cannot continue adding time onto your ex-employee of the council. So, if your employment ends for any reason - due to retirement, redundancy or because you simply decide to move on to pastures new - your claim still continues with all the rest. For example, if your claim has accumulated 8 years and 10 months at that point - then that remains the basis of your claim against your former employer.

Freedom of Information

Here's what South Lanarkshire Council says on its web about Freedom of Information: "Freedom of Information legislation is designed to ensure openness and accountability. This means that wherever possible, we will make the information you request available to you." A number of readers have been in touch to say that their requests for pay information have been denied by the council. The information people have asked for would simply allow them to understand how different groups of male and female workers - within the council - are paid. So, it seems that South Lanarkshire supports the principle of Freedom of Information - except where it's inconvenient. Why is the council so reluctant to share basic pay information - that other council employees in Scotland are able to access easily and freely?

The Last King of Scotland

The general election result accurately reflects the public mood. No party won a majority of the popular vote - or a majority of Westminster seats. The Conservatives made big gains - with almost 100 extra seats, mainly at Labour's expense - and emerged as the largest single party with with 307 seats. Although the Conservatives won 36% of the popular vote - the first past the post voting system gives them 47% of the total number of (650) MPs in the House of Commons. Labour's vote dropped significantly to 29% - but they still won 258 seats in the House of Commons - or 40% of the total - which means they are also over-represented compared to their share of the popular vote. The Liberal Democrats marginally improved their share of the popular vote to 23% - but ended up with fewer seats to their name - 57 which represents only 9% of MPs' votes in the House of Commons. What the country needs is serious voting reform - which rewards the parties and candidates with a num

North Lanarkshire

A number of newspapers have been in touch to ask for a comment about North Lanarkshire Council - so here's a copy of the statement that's been released - for your information and interest. "Action 4 Equality Scotland has finally forced North Lanarkshire to face up to its obligations over equal pay, but it was on the eve of a crucial hearing employment tribunal hearing that the council came to its senses. No doubt its decision was influenced by the quality of the legal team fielded by Fox Cross Solicitors - including Daphne Romney QC one of the leading equal pay barristers in the country. The result is that we have achieved much better settlements offers than those put forward originally by the council and endorsed by the unions in 2006. At that time, the council tried to 'buy-out' people's claims with the lowest settlement offers of any council in Scotland, which were particularly poor for vital groups such as Home Carers. Because the trade unions failed

South Lanarkshire Hearings

A number of hearing dates for South Lanarkshire Council are in the diary for May - 10, 11, 26 and 28 May to be precise. The May dates have now been set aside because of the sad and sudden death of the equal pay expert, Joan Keogh - who provided Fox Cross Solicitors with a detailed report and assessment of South Lanarkshire's 'in-house' job evaluation scheme (JES). The postponement of the May dates will allow Fox Cross Solicitors the time they require to instruct a new equal pay expert - so the hearings on 10, 11, 26 and 28 May will not take place. A separate hearing is due to take place in July - an appeal initiated by South Lanarkshire over an order from the tribunal to release pay information - and that should still go ahead as planned. The actual dates will be published on the blog site nearer the time. Meantime thanks to the readers who attended the hearing on Wednesday 5 May - for their thoughts and feedback on the proceedings.

Pensions and Equal Pay

Here's an article from today's Independent newspaper - regarding a significant change in pension regulations which will impact on thousands of low paid council workers. You have to ask yourself why a Labour government would do something so mean-spirited - it really does beggar belief - and it's a sign of cowardice that it's slipped out quietly on the day of the general election. 'A good day to bury bad news', no doubt - as a government spin doctor famously said - they should be ashamed of themselves. "Change in law excludes pensions from equal pay" "Thousands of low paid female council workers could be condemned to an impoverished old age after the Government quietly changed the law to stop them receiving better pensions. Dinner ladies, cleaners and care assistants are among the workers who will be affected by the change to the local government pension scheme regulations. Under the new rules, women who win equal pay cases will no longer be

The Truth Will Out

A number of readers from South Lanarkshire have been in touch to say that they've got in touch with the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) - here's a previous post from 23 April 2010 explaining the background. Good for them - people are perfectly entitled to challenge South Lanarkshire's secretive ways over basic pay information - more power to their elbow - this may be a long hard fight, but sooner or later the truth will out. Friday, 23 April 2010 Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) Lots of readers from South Lanarkshire feel frustrated at the council's delaying tactics over equal pay - so they've been asking what they can to to support their claims. Well one thing people could do is to complain about the lack of transparency on pay information - and the body to complain to is the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Scotland (EHRC). The EHRC is responsible for overseeing the legislative framework on all equalities issues - and regula

Taking the Bull by the Horns

A number of readers have been in touch to ask why the unions are so hateful towards Stefan Cross? Well the answer to that is very simple. Action 4 Equality and Stefan Cross have shown the trade unions up - made them look lazy and flatfooted - too cosy by far with the employers - more interested in party politics than the 'bread and butter' issues of concern to ordinary members. As the interview with the Guardian shows - see post dated 2 May 2010 - clients of Stefan Cross are delighted that he came along and took the bull by the horns on equal pay. Because no one else did - and if people had been relying on the trade unions or the employers to do the job - they'd have ended up with precisely nothing. So, we can live with the fact that some senior council bosses - and a few trade union bigwigs have their noses out of joint. Because they don't speak for the thousands of low paid women workers who've been losing out on equal pay for all these years .

Counting by Numbers

We've often said that the trade unions are all over the place when it comes to equal pay. But every so often the unions comes out with such a silly statement that we hardly need to say a word - because the facts speak for themselves. Here's a comment from the GMB which appeared in The Observer newspaper at the weekend: "The GMB union declared that its women members in Birmingham can now expect substantial payouts, probably worth £30 million."...."This estimate is based on the average £20,000 payout expected by the GMB's lawyers for each of the 1,400 women they were representing." According to the Observer the remaining claimants, represented by other unions, can expect a similar amount. But the pay difference in Birmingham between male and female groups of workers - which, of course, the trade unions knew about all along - was around £19,000 a year, every year. So, £20,000 hardly seems a fair or realistic settlement covering a period of several yea

South Lanarkshire - Hearing dates

A new round of hearings with South Lanarkshire Council gets underway today at the Employment Tribunal in Glasgow - there are also further dates already scheduled for May which are detailed below: Monday - 10 May 2010 Tuesday - 11 May 2010 Wednesday - 26 May 2010 Friday - 28 May 2010 The Glasgow Employment Tribunal is a short 10 minute walk from Central Station and is located at the following address: The Eagle Building 215 Bothwell Street Glasgow G2 7TS These hearings is open to the public, but if you go along make a point of introducing yourself to Carol Fox - who will be there on behalf of the Fox Cross legal team.

A Short History of Equal Pay

Action 4 Equality began its activities on equal pay in Scotland in August 2005 - but before we arrived on the scene equal pay was dead a dead issue. The landmark 1999 Single Status Agreement had still not been implemented in Scotland and had missed two implementation deadlines in 2002 - and again 2004. No significant activity was taking place in the employment tribunals over equal pay. The trade unions had always said that legal action against the employers would follow - if collective bargaining failed to deliver change - but nothing happened as the original agreement was allowed to slowly wither and die. In reality, both the trade unions and the council employers lacked the political will to end the widespread pay discrimination in Scottish local government – which they had both promised to sweep away in 1999. In 2005 Action 4 Equality Scotland began to explain - for the first time - the huge pay gap between men and women’s jobs – and the ability of women workers to pursue equa

Vote Early, Vote Often

Lots of readers have been in touch to ask for our views on the general election. Action 4 Equality Scotland is an non-party organisation - strictly neutral when it comes to party politics - so we won't be telling anyone how to place their vote. But on a personal note - I hope our readers will go out and use their votes - for whichever candidate or party that best reflects your views. Because it would be a sad day if the public fury over the MPs' expenses scandal - or the bad behaviour of individual politicians - made people so fed up that they just stayed at home. So, think again Mrs Duffy of Rochdale - and anyone else of similar mind - don't let the buggers get you down (see post dated 29 April - "He's Not As Nice As He Looks"). It's true that many politicians do view the general public as useful idiots - as cannon fodder to propel them into power - who can be safely ignored once the election is out of the way. But it doesn't have to be that wa

The Guardian Interview - Stefan Cross

The Guardian newspaper ran a major article about Stefan Cross on Saturday - the piece written by Simon Hattenstone - can be read online at - http://www.guardian.co.uk/ "Stefan Cross has just won yet another huge payout for low-paid women – in Birmingham this time. Councils despise him. But why are unions also at war with the activist fighting for gender pay equality? Stefan Cross says his background gave him a passion for the underdog – his mother was a cleaner and his father struggled to hold down a job; the family were constantly moving to avoid debts. It looked like a great day for women, trade unions, public-sector workers, idealistic lawyers, the whole kaboodle. In short, a great day for justice. Everybody seemed to have won when it was announced this week that 4,000 women in Birmingham would be compensated for a pay and grading structure that had discriminated against them for decades. The reality was somewhat different. As the trade unions claimed victory for themselves

More Kind Words

Here are some more kind words from one of our regular readers in the west of Scotland - we're glad to have been of service. "Hi Mark First of I would like to thank you and Stefan for our wonderful settlement. I have been a regular on your blog over the last 4 years and you have always returned any e- mails that I have sent. I have also printed out many of your blogs and took them in to my workplace to let the other claimants know what was happening as they didn't have access to a computer. Thanking you once again for all your hard work Kind regards MA"

Takes Your Breath Away

Every so often the hypocrisy of the unions takes your breath away. The latest attempt to steal Action 4 Equality's clothes - follows another major success in the big test case in Birmingham City Council. The reality is that the unions are shamelessly trying to re-write history - by portraying themselves as champions of equal pay. Of course, this is complete baloney - the trade unions have actually been part of the problem - a real barrier to change for many years. Because these are the same unions that negotiated the 'male only' bonus schemes - in the first place - not just in Birmingham, but right across the country. In Birmingham, pay differentials were right off the Richter scale - unbelievable almost - with bonuses worth 160% on top of basic pay - but only for those employed in traditional male jobs. The trade unions negotiated these bonus schemes - but then chose to keep women workers in the dark - about the huge pay differences between male and female grou