Thursday, 12 July 2012
A number of readers from South Lanarkshire have been in touch to ask - whether the council and the trade unions could have avoided the current mess they've got into over equal pay.
Now I would say the answer to that question - is a definite YES.
Because the obvious thing to have done - and anyone could have told you this at the time (back in 2004) - is to construct what is called a 'rank order of jobs'.
Both before and after job evaluation process was carried out - for comparative purposes - which is what equal pay is all about - comparing the actual pay outcomes between male and female jobs.
A 'rank order of jobs' is a basic but vital tool for anyone dealing with a job evaluation scheme (JES) - because it demonstrates very quickly and very vividly what the 'before' and 'after' effect of the JES on people's pay and grading.
If you like it's like one of those fast-track books you see in the shops - except it should be given the title 'Equal Pay for Dummies'.
So given that the whole purpose of the 1999 Single Status (Equal Pay) Agreement in Scotland - was to address the perceived pay inequalities faced by many female dominated jobs.
You would have thought that even the village idiot would have understood the importance of using a 'rank order of jobs' - to assess what was actually going in terms of pay outcomes for the male and female jobs.
Instead we have ridiculous excuses that they didn't compare across the workforce - to see what was happening to different groups of male and female workers.
Or if they did, they didn't like what they saw and decided not to share the information with the workforce - a complete cop out if I've ever heard one.
The point is that if all that happened is that female dominated jobs within the council stayed firmly rooted at the bottom of the pay ladder - then in truth the existing pay hierarchy within the council was being preserved.
Yet by the simple task of constructing a 'before and after' rank order of jobs - this would have stood out like a sore thumb - for everyone to see including all the women workers who would have realised that nothing had changed.
So if you ask me, I say the whole affair is a complete disgrace - which is why South Lanarkshire Council and the trade unions have a great deal to answer for in 2012.
Because equal pay is not rocket science and comes down to only two things at the end of the day - political will and commons sense.