Has Glasgow initiated an appeal against the unanimous decision of the Court of Session, Scotland's highest civil court, that the City Council's WPBR pay arrangements are 'unfit for purpose'?
Stefan Cross QC explains:
WHEN IS AN APPEAL NOT AN APPEAL?
As most of you will know Susan Aitken (Leader of Glasgow City Council) has once again claimed there is no appeal and really can't understand why there is confusion?
This all comes down to process. To be able to get an appeal hearing in the Supreme Court you have first to ask permission from the court that rejected your case.
Here that is the Court of Session, Scotland's highest court.
This is called SEEKING LEAVE TO APPEAL and this is what the council have done.
So SA is saying there is no appeal only because they have not yet got permission but to get permission you have to set out your grounds for appeal and reasons why the COS should say yes the appeal can proceed.
If COS says yes then the appeal goes to a hearing before the UK Supreme Court, that's it. There is no middle stage.
So you can take it both ways. GCC and SA say there is not yet an appeal because COS have not said yes.
I say an appeal is a process starting when you ask for permission, which they've done. I think to suggest they haven't appealed is an unappealing appeal to semantics.
So any questions? If not class dismissed
Have a good weekend
So any questions? If not class dismissed
Have a good weekend
Breaking News - Court of Session (27/09/17)
Glasgow City Council has now lodged its case for seeking 'leave to appeal' the Court of Session decision in which three of Scotland's top judges found unanimously in favour Glasgow's equal pay claimants.
I have only scanned the document briefly, but it looks to me like a re-hashed version of the same case Glasgow put forward previously, only for Scotland's highest civil court to decide that the City Council's WPBR pay scheme is 'unfit for purpose'.
I'll have more to say on this development in the days ahead although as I've already explained, the A4ES legal team will be vigorously challenging and opposing GCC's case for pursuing a further appeal to the UK Supreme Court.
Regular readers will be interested to learn that the GMB union will not be part of this latest battle with Glasgow City Council because the GMB was never part of the earlier appeal to the Court of Session, having restricted its members claims to the 3 year protection period.
Which is another good reason to take anything the GMB has to say about equal pay with a giant pinch of salt.
Glasgow - Equal Pay Update (18/08/17)
Media outlets in Scotland are beginning to cover the big story on Glasgow and Equal Pay following the landmark decision of the Court of Session earlier today.
Here's what The Herald has to say this afternoon and I imagine there will be much more to follow tomorrow.
If you ask me, the newspaper is quite right to point out that Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, is on record as backing the cause of equal pay and has also urged local council to stop 'dragging their feet' and settle outstanding cases
Workers’ joy and council angst as women win landmark pay case
By David Leask - The Herald
THOUSANDS of women have won an historic equal pay case that could potentially cost Scotland’s biggest local authority hundreds of millions of pounds just as austerity bites hardest.
Lawyers for more than 6000 workers have secured a ruling at the country’s highest civil court that Glasgow’s entire salary system may be unfair.
Their landmark victory comes after a 12-year fight against the city, which has been described by unions as “rogue” for grading jobs dominated by men, such as gravediggers, above those largely done by women, such as home carers.
Three judges at the Court of Session, the Lord Justice Clerk, Lady Dorrian; Lady Paton; and Lord Menzies, quashed an employment tribunal ruling that the grading system met equal pay laws.
Unions and lawyers now hope the council, whose new SNPadministration has said it is committed to equal pay, will now negotiate a deal. But - without such an agreement - the ruling means thousands of women can go back to tribunals to seek a wage rise and back pay.
Insiders stress, however, stress that any settlement - whether through individual employment tribunals or negotiation - could have a dramatic effect on city finances.
Stefan Cross QC, whose Action 4 Equality Group, represents 6000 workers in the large and complex action said: “There is now bound to be a huge influx of new cases against the City Council which faces a mammoth bill of £500 million after stubbornly refusing to face up to its equal pay obligations for the past 12 years.”
The case is the second and more significant of two lost by the council over the summer. Back in late May the Court of Session ruled that women workers have been effectively excluded from bonuses widely used by men for years.
The former Labour administrations in Glasgow had thought their re-grading of posts would help them avoid what they saw as a financial blow.
Politicians and officials of that generation have now largely left, to be replaced by city leader Susan Aitken.
The SNP councillor said her administration was elected to improve industrial relations, including settling the equal pay row.
Ms Aitken said: “This is a complex ruling about a complex matter.
“It is right that the Council takes some time to consider the immediate impact and wider ramifications of this ruling.
“Council officers will require time to consider all the implications of this ruling, but I have instructed them to continue to speak to the trade unions about the application of the pay and grading scheme.
“We are actively working with the trade unions to settle all cases relating to pay protection, where a number of women continued to be paid unequally even after the introduction of the new pay and grading system.”
Some of the pay anomalies between male and female workers were stark. Unions argue their female members such as carers, cleaners, catering staff, classroom assistants, clerical workers and so on were typically paid £3 less an hour less than male gardeners, gravediggers or binmen.
That can add up to a shortfall for women of £5000 per year. A final settlement could potentially, therefore, mean workers getting the shortfall for the last decade plus interest.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has backed the equal pay cause after a series of victories for workers over councils.
Labour figures in Glasgow suggested the Scottish Governmentmay have to help local authorities handle big bills with more generous funding arrangements.
Frank McAveety, who Ms Aitken replaced as city leader in May, said: “This judgment has huge financial challenge for the city and a lot of people are going to have to get their heads together, including the government."