Friday, 31 March 2017

Glasgow's Pay Arrangements

Here's another interesting minute from Glasgow City Council's executive committee which records a number issues in relation to the Workforce Pay and Benefits Review (WPBR) in December 2007.

The most interesting aspect of the EC minute relates to the 1,980 council employees who were 'in detriment' or who lost out after the WPBR was introduced in 2007 although I understand the final figure was significantly higher.

Now as regular readers know Glasgow City Council had previously given former bonus earning jobs a cast-iron guarantee that their higher earnings (prior to the WPBR) would be maintained even after the introduction of job evaluation.

The effect of which was to ensure that the big pay gap between male and female council remained largely in place since the women's jobs had never been brought into line with their 'comparators' and the bonus related pay of the men.

Even though the original aim of the 1999 Single Status (Equal Pay) Agreement was to close this pay gap by raising the pay of undervalued female dominated jobs: carers, cooks, cleaners, catering workers, clerical workers, classroom assistants and so on.

So I think this calls for another FoI request to the bigwigs at Glasgow City Council and if any readers have information to pass on, please drop me a note (in confidence of course) to:


Glasgow City Council Executive Committee dated 4 December 2007

Workforce Pay and Benefits Review—Update noted.

12 Councillor McKeown, Executive Member for Personnel and Corporate Services, presented a report regarding the progress of the Workforce Pay and Benefits Review, advising that
  1. (1)  the redesigned payroll system which had been developed to reflect the new pay and grading structure was fully implemented for all employees at the end of July 2007 and further work had been undertaken by services and the Shared Service Centre to deal with any remaining outstanding issues;
  2. (2)  2,000 requests for a review of the outcome of the Workforce Pay and Benefits Review had been received and this covered in excess of 9,000 staff and to ensure a consistent approach, these had been managed by a process of dealing with reviews family by family;
  3. (3)  to date reviews had been concluded for all job families with the exception of Physical and Environmental Services, Clerical Admin and Business Support and the number of reviews heard had represented 75% of the staff who had submitted requests;
  4. (4)  a significant amount of work had been undertaken across the Council to review the specific circumstances of employees in protected status and to establish what action needed to be taken to assist these individuals and groups to retain their earnings beyond the period of protection;
  5. (5)  1,980 employees from all grades and levels across the Council were still in detriment and of those, 814 had detriment of 5% or less with 1,115 employees having received an Employee Development Commitment meeting with their manager and the remainder were due to take place before the end of the year; and
  6. (6)  to date in excess of 3,000 claims had been submitted of these over 1,100 offers of settlement had been made, the majority of which had been accepted and the settlement of claims had been made within the available sums identified within the Approved Accounts and resources of the Council to meet the costs of a negotiated settlement.
After consideration, the committee noted the progress made to date. 

Glasgow's Pay Arrangements (10/03/17)

Image result for smoking gun + images

Glasgow City Council has been left looking ridiculous after the revelation that at the same time as introducing new and supposedly 'equal pay proofed' pay arrangements, the Council also agreed to maintain pay differentials (the 'pay gap') between male and female jobs. 
Now this is a completely nonsensical if you ask me, an impossible paradox, an equal pay version of Catch 22.

Because you can't really be serious about achieving equal pay if lower paid, female dominated council jobs (70% of the workforce) are forever prevented from catching up with their higher paid male colleagues. 

So what were the City Council's senior officials thinking and what do they have to say for themselves?

Unison also has a lot to answer for, of course, because the 1999 Single Status (Equal Pay) Agreement was all about tackling low pay amongst the thousands of female dominated jobs that had been undervalued for years: carers, cooks, cleaners, catering staff, clerical workers, classroom assistants etc etc.

The legal side of this dispute is proceeding via the Court of Session, but claimants in Glasgow can also make a big difference by getting involved in the campaign to hold the City Council to account.

If you ask me, the leader of the City Council Cllr Frank McAveety has a duty to explain how Glasgow got into such mess and readers may wish to drop Frank a note via his email and/or Twitter address:


Twitter: @FMcAveety

If you do, keep me posted on what Frank has to say.


Glasgow's Smoking Gun (09/03/17)Image result for smoking gun + images

I've had a lot of interest in my 'Smoking Gun' post about Glasgow City Council's pay arrangements from earlier today.

Now I'll have more to say on this subject tomorrow, but if you ask me the question that ought to be uppermost in people's minds is:

"How can an employer like Glasgow City Council possibly deliver on its commitment to equal pay, if they set out at the same time to maintain pay differentials and the 'pay gap' between make and female jobs?"

The same question should also be asked of the trade unions, of course, though I'll set that aside for another day.

In the meantime, what do readers think about the latest revelations from Glasgow?

Drop me a note and I'll share people's thoughts on the blog site - without mentioning anyone's name or personal details, for obvious reasons.


Glasgow's Smoking Gun (09/03/17)

Image result for smoking gun + images

Here is a very important minute from a meeting of Glasgow City Council's Executive Committee held on 8th December 2006.

The Council's Executive Committee was chaired by the Council leader with other elected councillors and senior officials in attendance.

"Workforce pay and benefits review - Outcome of negotiations with UNISON noted.

"3 In terms of Standing Order Nos 4 and 6, as a matter of urgency, the Chief Executive reported that following a ballot of its membership, UNISON had intimated that they intended to take Industrial Action on 5th, 6th and 7th December 2006 in connection with the Workforce Pay and Benefits Review (WPBR).

"Following meetings with UNISON culminating in a meeting on 4th December 2006, UNISON had called off the Strike Action on the basis of the following understanding:-

"2006-2007 EXECUTIVE 5 8th DECEMBER 2006 694

“The Council is committed to assisting individual employees who are in a loss of earnings position as a result of the WPBR and has given a clear commitment to ensure all appropriate action is taken to provide such employees with the opportunity to move to a higher level post, thus allowing maintenance of their earnings in the long term.

"Development plans and service redesign are the two main means of achieving the objective stated above. It is the clear intention to have agreed plans in place for all relevant staff, which are capable of delivery by March 2009.

"The Council was prepared to agree an extension beyond March 2009 where it has not been possible to complete the development plan and/or where service redesign has not been practically implemented.

"After consideration, the committee noted the position."

Now in terms of equal pay this City Council minute is a real bombshell - a smoking gun, if you like.

Because the document confirms that Glasgow City Council did a deal with the trade unions to maintain the higher, bonus-related earnings of traditional male jobs.

As regular readers know that is essentially what happened in neighbouring North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire Councils of course, both Labour-run councils, as regular readers will be aware.

The key point is that in settling previous equal pay claims (prior to the introduction of the WPBR) the City Council accepted that its pay arrangements were discriminatory - and that many female dominated jobs were being paid much less than their male 'comparators' even when the women's jobs were on the same or a higher grade.

So while a Home Carer was on an hourly rate of, say, £6.00 an hour a Refuse Worker, a Gardener or a Gravedigger were being paid between £9.00 - £12.00 an hour when their big (50% and more) bonus payments were taken in account.

Just as in other councils across Scotland, female dominated jobs in Glasgow did not attract these bonus payments, so women in the same or often in higher grades were being paid far less than their male colleagues for doing 'work of equal value'.   

Glasgow City Council accepted this position and the fact that the Council had no proper justification for these big pay differences between male and female jobs which led to a settlement of what became known as the '1st Wave' of equal pay claims. 

So prior to the introduction of the WPBR in 2007 the Council had a duty to bring the pay of male and female jobs into line with each other - otherwise traditional male jobs entered the WPBR with higher pay and a hugely advantageous starting position.

In other words the hourly rate of pay of the women's jobs should have been increased to the same as their comparators (£9.00 - £12.00 an hour) to put female workers on exactly the same footing as the male workers.

Think about this in the context of a competition: it's like a game of musical chairs in which some people take part only after being guaranteed they can keep their own chair, or a 100 mixed metre sprint in which some of the runners (but just the male ones) are already half way (or more) towards the finishing line.

If the City Council's Home Carers (to name one group) had been treated in the same way as Refuse Workers, Gardeners and Gravediggers, the fact is that they would have entered the WPBR process with a much higher rate of pay plus with a copper-bottomed guarantee that this higher rate of pay could not fall after the WPBR was introduced.

In short the Home Carers along with many other female dominated jobs were treated very differently and less favourably than their male colleagues, like second class citizens, if you ask me. 

Because Scotland's landmark 1999 Single Status (Equal Pay) Agreement was always about closing the pay gap with higher paid (predominantly male) jobs by tackling low pay amongst the thousands of female dominated council jobs which had been badly undervalued for years.

Yet Glasgow's Executive Committee minute from December 2006 is clear evidence that priority was given to maintaining existing pay differentials (the 'pay gap') by continuing to protect the higher pay of male dominated jobs - without offering the same 'deal' to the council's women workers

The upshot is that Glasgow City Council and the trade unions should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for yet again failing to stand up for the interests of a largely female workforce.


Glasgow's Pay Arrangements (09/03/17)

An eagle-eyed reader from Glasgow has been in touch to ask if the statements I published on the blog site earlier today are extracts from the Unison rule book.

Indeed they are, well done! - and their significance will become clear tomorrow (Thursday) when I publish a further post on the 'new' pay arrangements introduced by Glasgow City Council in 2007 as a result of its Workforce Pay and Benefits Review (WPBR).

So here is the post again with the blanks filled in this time - the first statement is an extract from Unison's Aims and Objectives while the second is a statement of the union's anti-discrimination policy.

Today is International Women's Day, by the way, an important day in the calendar and one that people and organisations often use to burnish their credentials as champions of equal pay and equalities issues. 

Let's see what tomorrow brings.


The Fight for Equal Pay (08/03/17)

Here's a statement about 'equality' and fighting against discrimination of all kinds which I would like to draw to readers' attention ahead of an important post I plan to publish on the blog site tomorrow (Thursday).


Aims and objectives
"To seek to ensure equality of treatment and fair representation for all members and to work for the elimination of discrimination on grounds of race, gender, sexuality, gender identity, disability, age or creed.


"The Union shall seek to ensure that discriminatory acts are not committed against any persons by the Union, or or by its organs, members, or officers, on grounds such as race, gender, sexuality, gender identity, disability, age, creed or social class."

I hope every employee of the City Council reads this post today because tomorrow promises to be a bit of an eye opener.

The reason being that Scotland's 1999 Single Status (Equal Pay) Agreement was always  intended to raise the level of (low) pay for thousands of women whose jobs had been badly undervalued and underpaid for years - and that could not be done without closing the pay gap with their male colleagues.

So, in turn, this meant that anyone defending and trying to maintain this big 'equal pay' gap had to be betraying the interests of all the female council workers: carers, cooks, cleaners, catering workers, clerical staff, classroom assistants etc.

So tune in again tomorrow for the big 'reveal'.


Best Laid Plans

Image result for best laid plans + gang aft agley

Here's a great story from The Independent which highlights the practical difficulties involved in Donald Trump's plan to build a 'big, beautiful wall' between Mexico and America. 

The penny seems to have dropped that placing the 'Great Wall of Trump' on the American side of the Rio Grande would effectively cede control of this great, historic river to Mexico which would not go down too well for obvious reasons.

Nor does it seem likely, or even possible, that Donald Trump's wall could be built in the middle of a busy river channel.

Yet again the wild rhetoric Trump employed during the presidential election campaign is coming up against the reality of getting things done in government.

Maybe the business tycoon should have paid more attention to his Scottish roots and the words of our national poet Robert Burns in his famous poem 'To a Mouse'.

US interior secretary suggests America could annex Mexican land to build Donald Trump's wall

'We’re not going to put it on our side [of the Rio Grande] and cede the river to Mexico'

By Samuel Osborne - The Independent
The President has proposed immediate budget cuts of $18bn (£14bn) so US taxpayers, not Mexico, can cover the down-payment on the border wall NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

America could annex Mexican land to build Donald Trump's "big, beautiful wall" on the border, the US Interior Secretary has suggested.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told a Public lands Council meeting the Trump administration did not want to build the wall on US soil because it would mean ceding the Rio Grande river to Mexico.

“The border is complicated, as far as building a physical wall,” Mr Zinke said, according to E&E 

    Putin's Russia

    The Guardian carried two excellent reports on the political unrest in Russia where peaceful protests are being met with intimidation, arrests and jail sentences.

    Makes you wonder what lies behind Donald Trump's admiration for Vladimir Putin who is just about the only world leader whom the American President has consistently showered with praise.

    A 'free press' no longer exists in Russia, of course, and the bulk of the media is now effectively under state control.


    Opposition leader Alexei Navalny detained amid protests across Russia

    Crowds gather in cities to protest against corruption in largest anti-government rallies for five years, with hundreds held

    By Shaun Walker and Alec Luhn - The Guardian

    Hundreds of protesters have been detained by riot police in cities across Russia, as some of the largest anti-government protests in years swept the country.

    The call to protest came from the opposition politician and anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny, who was himself detained at the Moscow demonstration. A monitoring group said at least 850 people were detained in Moscow alone, while the news agency Tass gave a figure of 500.

    Alexei Navalny: Russian opposition is not deterred by Boris Nemtsov murder

    Police said about 7,000 people attended the Moscow rally on Sunday, though the real number may have been much higher. The crowds surged down the length of the city’s main thoroughfare, Tverskaya. A police helicopter flew overhead and thousands of riot police were on duty across the city centre.

    The size and scope of the demonstrations pose a challenge to the Kremlin, a year before elections in which Vladimir Putin is expected to win another six-year term.

    Soon after arriving, Navalny was bundled into a police bus, which was unable to drive away for several minutes as crowds set upon it and tried to free him. Protesters even pushed parked cars in front of the bus to stop it moving, but were later beaten away by riot police. There were isolated clashes with riot police and shouts of “shame” and “Russia will be free”

    Dmitry Medvedev: the whipping boy for Russia's discontented
    The corruption allegations that led to street protests add to the air of disappointment surrounding the country’s prime minister

    By Shaun Walker - The Guardian

    The street protests that swept Russian cities over the weekend were remarkable not just for their unusually large size, but also for their main target: Dmitry Medvedev.

    After an investigation by the anti-corruption campaigner and opposition politician Alexei Navalny alleged a network of palaces and vineyards linked to Medvedev, the prime minister has become the focal point of the protests. Angry Russians carried rubber ducks, a mocking reference to a shelter for ducks found on one of his alleged properties. 

    Opposition leader Alexei Navalny detained amid protests across Russia

    Don't Mention 'You Know Who'

    While the country waits with baited breath on the outcome of Ken Livingstone's disciplinary hearing for allegedly bringing the Labour Party into disrepute, a wag on Twitter (Dai Lama) imagines how Ken would fare on a visit to Battersea Dogs Home


    Labour in Denial (01/05/16)

    The Labour Party has been plunged into crisis because of a stupid, yet deliberate attempt by Ken Livingstone (one of Jeremy Corbyn's closest allies) to claim that Adolf Hitler was a Zionist.

    On top of that, Ken went on to share his view that someone can only be anti-semitic if they hate all Jews across the world, not just those living in Israel.

    Noe there's been some powerful writing over the weekend about the background to this latest Labour farce and here are there examples from The Scotsman, The Observer and The Independent newspapers.   

    I think that the piece by Andrew Grice (Independent) is perhaps the most factual and even-handed, Nick Cohen's (Observer) the most passionate, but I would say the most telling is Euan McColm's (Scotsman) who gets to the heart of the problem facing the Labour Party with the following paragraph:

    "None of this will, I fear, put an end to Corbyn’s leadership. He is supported by an overwhelming number of halfwits who are content to believe their man’s a victim of the malign actions of others."

    I admire people who don't pull their punches. 


    Euan McColm: Corbyn the last person to tackle anti-Semitism

    Ken Livingstone is mobbed by journalists outside Millbank following the controversial comments which led to his suspension. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA

    By EUAN MCCOLM - The Scotsman

    IT’S not Jews, they say. They’re always adamant about that: they don’t hate Jews.

    And then they say things that suggest they hate Jews. Instead of Jews, of course, they say Zionists.

    But they mean Jews, don’t they? After events of the past few days, that’s a reasonable assumption to make, isn’t it?

    The Labour Party hasn’t had controversy to seek since members last year took the, still baffling, decision to elect the incompetent Jeremy Corbyn as their leader.

    I saw the darkness of antisemitism, but I never thought it would get this dark

    By Nick Cohen - The Observer

    The party faces a huge problem that must be surmounted, if only for moral reasons

    Ken Livingstone claimed Hitler was a Zionist. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Getty Images

    Racism is not a specific illness but a general sickness. Display one symptom and you display them all. If you show me an anti-Muslim bigot, I will be able to guess his or her views on the European Union, welfare state, crime and “political correctness”. Show me a leftwing or Islamist antisemite and, once again, he will carry a suitcase full of prejudices, which have nothing to do with Jews, but somehow have everything to do with Jews.

    The Labour party does not have a “problem with antisemitism” it can isolate and treat, like a patient asking a doctor for a course of antibiotics. The party and much of the wider liberal-left have a chronic condition.

    As I have written about the darkness on the left before, I am not going to crow now that it has turned darker than even I predicted. (There is not much to crow about, after all.) I have nothing but respect for the Labour MPs who are trying to stop their party becoming a playpen for fanatics and cranks. It just appears to me that they face interlocking difficulties that are close to insoluble.

    Corbyn’s leadership has heightened Labour’s 'Jewish problem'. Only he can bring this row to an end

    Corbyn is on a fast learning curve. A half-hearted approach by the Labour leader would not only lose Jewish voters but repel others too

    By Andrew Grice - The Independent

    Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, addresses the Commons PA

    A debate inside the Labour Party over Israel, which has simmered for years, has suddenly exploded into Jeremy Corbyn’s biggest crisis in his seven months as party leader.

    With the Conservatives advertising their deep divisions on Europe daily, it should have been a moment for Labour, broadly united in support for EU membership, to make progress – not least in next week’s elections to local authorities, the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and for London Mayor. Instead, Labour has somehow managed to give the impression it is just as divided as the Tories.

    After a costly 32-hour delay before suspending the Labour MP Naz Shah for suggesting in 2014 that Israeli Jews be transported to America, Corbyn learnt his lesson and acted swiftly to bar his long-time ally Ken Livingstone. Bizarrely, the former London Mayor leapt to the defence of Shah when she was no longer defending herself. The story became a farce as Livingstone suggested that Hitler was a Zionist and clashed on the stairs of a TV studio with the Labour MP John Mann.

    Livingstone, who was co-chairing a review of Labour’s foreign policy, claimed in a round of media interviews that, in his 47 years in the party, he had never come across anti-Semitism. This, too, was bizarre, since a series of such allegations have had a high media profile in recent weeks.