Sunday, 30 April 2017

Glasgow's Pay Arrangements

I have been delving into Glasgow's post WPBR pay arrangements and came across a document that goes into some details about the Employee Development Commitment ((EDC) a scheme that set out to maintain the higher pay of the male dominated former bonus earning groups - compared to their female colleagues whose jobs were clearly of 'equal value' to the men.

Here's an extract of one document which explains how the EDC operated, but the important point to remember is that pay was not 'equalised' before the scheme was introduced and so the jobs of low paid women were not treated in the same way as their male colleagues. 

"A series of interventions have been commissioned by the Council from Hays to support the pragmatic implementation of the EDC.

"The EDC is:

“The Council is committed to assisting all employees with Protected Status, who are in a loss of earnings position following the implementation of the Workforce Pay and Benefits Review to develop the skills that will provide them with the opportunity to move to a higher level post, thus allowing maintenance of their earnings in the long-term.

"This commitment will involve every employee with Protected Status being offered the following: -

"1 An Individual and/or group assessment of their current skills utilising methodologies to suit the varying learning styles.

"2 An individual Job/Career Planning meeting that will: - 
  • Provide information on relevant and appropriate Jobs (Role Profiles) and pathways/maps through the Councils Job Family Structure 
  • Consider and identify in conjunction with the employee realistic opportunities and options that are likely to be available within the protection timeframe taking account of individual’ salary/pay and skills 
  • Identify any skills/training gap i.e. what the employee would need to do to progress to the identified jobs/Job Families. 
"3 Development of an Individual and/or Group Development Plans, where appropriate, which may include a variety of arrangements to suit the individuals/groups needs e.g.-
  • Practical on-the-job methods 
  • Training Centre and/or distance learning based development 
  • Further Education/Formal Training courses and or qualifications 
  • Coaching
  • Shadowing and/or secondment opportunities 
"4 Ongoing monitoring of progress including support, guidance and review of Individual/Group Plans to ensure continued relevance and amendment as required.

"5 Ongoing information re job opportunities/vacancies and support during the recruitment and selection process.”
The document goes on to describe four different approaches to 'delivering the pay shortfall'
  1. Earnings related to compensation for working circumstances. This payment is individual job related and usually associated with particular job families. It may be that the individual under consideration may already be in that family. The compensation offered through this approach is limited to sums of £480 progressively to £1200 for extreme circumstances. 
  2. Earnings related to time disruption. This payment is related to individual job agreements, often within a larger group/team and offers some significant pay enhancements of between £500 and £5243. 
  3. Promotion from the current allocation of role to a higher role. The assimilation rules for protected employees places them at the “proven” point. The opportunity then is to be promoted to grades above the allocated level and therefore enjoy the higher pay for that grade. This approach delivers substantial monies as the ‘promotion’ leads to pay at the entry level and after two years further service, at the proven level. 
  4. Explicit payment justified by ‘market forces’. This approach has not been formalised by the WPBR. It is a difficult approach to progress because of the potential scrutiny of the supporting data and the requirement to justify the ‘whole of the difference’ between the standard pay of a grade and the proposed pay for a specific job."
All of these 'special measures' are aimed at treating former bonus earning male jobs more favourably than their female colleagues who remained stuck at the bottom of the council's pay ladder.

The priority of both the City Council and the trade unions was to preserve the higher pay of the men - instead of increasing the pay of women workers to the same level where their jobs were of equal value.


Glasgow and Equal Pay (22/04/17)

Here is a table I've put together summarising the pay data I received from Glasgow City Council in response to a series of FoI requests.

The important points to note are the level of earnings enjoyed by these male dominated, former bonus earning jobs - both before and after the introduction of the WPBR.

Back in 2005/06 the pay rate of a Home Carer was around £6.00 per hour even though Home Carers had a far higher grading (MW5) than most of the following council jobs:

Gardener 1 (MW1)

Gardener 4 (MW4)
Refuse Collector (MW2)
Gravedigger (MW3)
Road Worker (MW5)

As I've explained on the blog previously, all male dominated, former bonus earning jobs that were 'red circled' as a result of the WPBR were given a guarantee that their earnings would be maintained going forward - and so it proved.

But the earnings of women workers were not increased to the same level as their male comparators prior to the WPBR, even though various women's jobs including the Home Carers were at least of 'equal value' to the men.

And that principle of 'equal treatment' is what the Court of Session in Edinburgh is going to be considering next week.


Table 1
Glasgow CC
Gardener 1 (MW1)
Annual Earnings
No Comparator
No Comparator
No Comparator
Basic Salary
Hourly Rate
Gardener 4 (MW4)
Annual Earnings
Basic Salary
Hourly Rate
Refuse Collector (MW2)
Annual Earnings
Basic Salary
Hourly Rate
Grave Digger (MW3)
Annual Earnings
Basic Salary
Hourly Rate
Road Worker (MW5)
Annual Earnings
No Comparator
No Comparator
Basic Salary
Hourly Rate

The Fight For Equal Pay

I came across this Labour Party video recently and my immediate reaction was that while it pays tribute to events surrounding 'Made in Dagenham', the behaviour of big Labour councils such as Glasgow, North Lanarkshire or South Lanarkshire have been completely ignored.

Fine words butter no parsnips, as the saying goes, and I think it's fair to say that the worst offenders when it comes to pay discrimination against low paid women workers have been the big Labour controlled councils in Scotland.

If you ask me, they deserve their comeuppance at the local council elections on 4th May 2017. 


Made in Dagenham (16 November 2011)

In case you missed it at the cinema - Made in Dagenham - a film about the fight for equal pay in 1968 is now showing on the Sky movie channel.

Here's what I wrote about Made in Dagenham when it was released last year - but it is truly incredible that the same fight is having to be fought out all over again - 40 years on.

And do you know what - the issues are exactly the same - employers and trade unions bending over backwards to deny women workers equal pay.

How is it possible - in Edinburgh for example - for the council to argue that a social care worker, or a catering manager or a classroom assistant - was not entitled to the same rate of pay as a refuse worker.

If anything, these female dominated jobs should all have been paid more - but the council and the trade unions - turned a blind eye to what was going on for years.

The employers and the trade unions - should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

Made in Dagenham (September 17th 2011)

A new film is to be released next month which tells the story of the struggle for equal pay in 1968 - by a group of women at the Ford car plant in Dagenham.

An inspiring story - by all accounts - it tells the tale of 187 women machine workers who walked out of the Dagenham car plant in 1968 - when their work was downgraded as 'unskilled' - and their demand for the same pay grading as the men in the factory was refused.

Directed by Nigel Cole of Calendar Girls, the film has a great British cast - including Sally Hawkins, Bob Hoskins, Rosamund Pike, Rupert Graves, Geraldine James, Miranda Richardson and John Sessions.

The idea for the film came about when the women behind the original protest - appeared on Radio 4's The Reunion programme.

Made in Dagenham stars the award winning Sally Hawkins as Rita O'Grady - who is the catalyst for the 1968 strike - which took place only two years before Equal Pay Act was introduced in 1970.

Working in poor conditions and for long hours, the women at the Ford Dagenham plant finally laid down their tools - in protest at their second class treatment compared to their male colleagues.

With humour, common sense and courage they take on their corporate paymasters, an increasingly belligerent local community, and finally the government of the day.

The leader of the women's struggle is fast-talking, no nonsense Rita whose fiery temper and occasionally hilarious unpredictability - proves to be a match for any of her male opponents.

I imagine the film will be a hit with everyone who has been involved in the struggle for equal pay some 40 years on - with Action 4 Equality Scotland.

The same battle that was waged in 1968 has essentially had to be fought all over again - only this time on behalf of low paid council workers in Scotland.

The trade unions never led this fight because they were part of the problem - doing deals that favoured traditional male jobs - and shamelessly betraying the interests of their women members. 

Every Picture Tells a Story

The New England Patriots won the American Super Bowl in 2015 and again in 2017 - on both occasions the President invited the team to the White House for a celebration and photo opportunity.

But as this photograph shows far fewer accepted Donald Trump's invitation compared to those who were keen to meet President Obama.


Every Picture Tells a Story (23/01/17)

Donald Trump has a well deserved reputation for being terribly thin-skinned and sensitive to personal criticism which seems to have affected other White House officials as well, if this angry rant by the new press secretary, Sean Spicer, is anything to go by.

Team Trump claimed that the 2017 inauguration was the biggest ever event of its kind "period" - with Trump himself claiming that the "crowds went all the way back to the Washington monument" when in fact this was clearly not true.

Every picture tells as story, as they say, and this photo of President Obama's inauguration in 2009 speaks for itself.
But instead of getting with the serious business of government Team Trump got involved in a ridiculous spat which ended with his press secretary blaming the 'floor coverings' for reducing the visual impact of the Trump supporters.

Trump claims media 'dishonest' over crowd photos
BBC US & Canada

Image copyrightREUTERSImage captionTrump's inauguration (left) and Obama's in 2009, viewed from the Washington Monument

President Donald Trump has accused the media of dishonesty over the number of people attending his inauguration.

Mr Trump said "it looked like" some 1.5m people had been there when he spoke at the US Capitol on Friday.

His press secretary later said it had been "the largest audience to ever see an inauguration" even though figures he cited add up to under 750,000 people.

And photographs appear to show many more attending the inauguration of Barack Obama in 2009.

On Saturday, millions in the US and around the world took part in protests to highlight women's rights, which activists believe to be under threat from the new administration.

The largest US rally was in the capital, Washington DC, which city officials estimated to be more than 500,000-strong, followed by New York with some 400,000 and hundreds of thousands elsewhere, including Chicago and Los Angeles. 

Inauguration: What are the figures?

For decades, the US National Park Service provided official crowd estimates for gatherings on the National Mall.

But the agency stopped providing counts after organisers of the Million Man March protest about rights for black people in 1995 threatened a lawsuit.

Mr Trump said "it looked like a million and a half people" there on Friday - with the crowd extending all the way back to the Washington Monument.

To support the argument, his press secretary Sean Spicer outlined figures amounting to 720,000 people in the Mall.

He also said that the number of people taking Washington's subway system on the day had been higher than during Mr Obama's second inauguration in 2013.

In fact, there were 782,000 tickets that year, 571,000 this year, the Washington-area transit authority says.

Mr Spicer also said that plastic sheets had been used for the first time to cover the grass which "had the effect of highlighting areas people were not standing whereas in years past the grass eliminated this visual". In fact, the grass was also covered in 2013.

He added that fences and metal detectors had had an impact on attendance, but this had also been denied by officials as being a factor.

District of Columbia officials had made preparations for an estimated 700,000 to 900,000. 

What are US media saying?

The new president repeated his low opinion of the media dubbing reporters "among the most dishonest human beings on earth". Mr Spicer vowed "to hold the press accountable".

In their reaction, major US media outlets flatly denied the claims made by the US president and his spokesman.

The New York Times, singled out by Mr Spicer, denounced "false claims".

CNN said it did not even broadcast the spokesman's statement live. It said the press secretary had attacked the media "for accurately reporting" and went on to debunk the claims.

ABC news also goes into detail to refute the claims.

Pro-Trump Fox News reported the claims unchallenged.

BuzzFeed News accuses Mr Spicer of lying and goes on to provide Twitter memes generated from his remarks.

A worrying debut: Analysis by David Willis, BBC News, Washington

In his first ever White House briefing, Sean Spicer rounded on reporters in a manner few here can remember.

Echoing President Trump's charge of dishonesty, Mr Spicer issued a thinly-veiled warning to reporters covering the Trump presidency, saying the new administration intended to "hold the press accountable".

Precisely what he means by that is unclear, but the statement has left many veterans of the White House press pool deeply concerned.

Ultimately, of course, it begs the broader question - what will prove most unpalatable to this new administration: the messenger or the message?

What are inauguration figures for past US presidents?

Officials from the District of Columbia have said that 1.8m people attended Mr Obama's 2009 inauguration and close to 1m showed up for his second in 2013.

George W Bush drew some 400,000 in 2005, 300,000 in 2001; Bill Clinton had 800,000 in 1993 then 250,000 in 1997.

Some 140,000 tickets were sold for Ronald Reagan's inauguration in 1985, but extreme cold forced officials to move the ceremony indoors, says Politifact.

It says the biggest crowd the National Park Service counted was for Lyndon Johnson's 1965 swearing-in that drew 1.2m.

Animals and Children

Image result for willie rennie + ram photo

The great American comedian WC Fields gave good advice when he said 'never work with animals or children'.

But Willie Rennie may be the exception that proves the rule because this photo of Willie wrestling with a giant ram has appeared everywhere and given the Lib Dem leader in Scotland the kind of exposure that money can't buy.


Religion of Peace?

Image result for apostasy + images

The Independent reports that a young man in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to death for voicing his rejection of Islam and the Prophet Mohammed.

Bit of a stretch to see how this squares with the often stated claim that Islam is a 'religion of peace' - not least because Saudi Arabia is the religion's spiritual home.

Man ‘sentenced to death for atheism’ in Saudi Arabia

Man identified by local media as Ahmad Al-Shamri, in his 20s, lost two appeals after being arrested on charges of blasphemy for social media videos in which he denounced the Prophet Mohammed

By Bethan McKernan - The Independent

al-Sharq newspaper's initial report on the arrest of man identified as Ahmad Al Shamri for apostasy and blasphemy in 2014

A man in Saudi Arabia has reportedly been sentenced to death on charges of apostasy after losing two appeals.

Several local media reports identified the man as Ahmad Al Shamri, in his 20s, from the town of Hafar al-Batin, who first came to the authorities’ attention in 2014 after allegedly uploading videos to social media in which he renounced Islam and the Prophet Mohammed.

He was arrested on charges of atheism and blasphemy and held in prison before being convicted by a local court and sentenced to death in February 2015.