Friday, 1 September 2017

Politics and Equal Pay

Richard Leonard is a potential candidate in the race to replace Kezia Dugale as the next leader of the Scottish Labour Party.

Now I can't think of a single Labour figure who put their head above the parapet during the long fight for equal pay in Scotland over the past 12 years.

If you ask me, the politicians all kept their heads down because they were scared of standing up to the big Labour controlled councils, such as North Lanarkshire, and the Labour supporting trade unions, like the GMB, which made such a terrible hash of things  

So despite wearing his left-wing politics on his sleeve Richard gets a similar score of 'could have done so much better' just like the rest of his Labour colleagues. 

Elaine Smith lost her constituency seat, by the way, and if you ask me this was richly deserved.  


North Lanarkshire Update (15/08/17)

A number of GMB members made it along to the Working Class heroes event last night and also managed a word or two with the union's political officer, Richard Leonard. 

Now I knew Richard twenty years ago when I was Unison's Head of Local Government in Scotland and he always struck me as an intelligent and decent person. 

Apparently the women told Richard that GMB members in North Lanarkshire are up in arms about their own union's behaviour and the terrible mess that senior officials have made of their equal pay claims against North Lanarkshire Council.

And I've no doubt that Richard got the message that ordinary union members are much more concerned about the 'bread and butter' issues affecting their daily lives, as opposed to the political posturing of the GMB which has been throwing money and resources at Jeremy Corbyn's campaign to succeed Ed Miliband as the next Labour leader.

I'm also told that Richard agreed to report back to GMB headquarters in Glasgow and let his bosses know that members in North Lanarkshire expect senior union officials to meet with them and take responsibility for the fact that their equal pay claims have been handled incompetently, by agreeing to compensate NLC members for any financial loss they may incur.

I'm planning to hold a meeting myself in North Lanarkshire the week after next, so once the arrangements are finalised maybe I'll invite the GMB and its advisers to come along as well.

I don't know if the GMB members spoke to Elaine Smith, the local MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston, though I have never heard Elaine say anything of real substance about the fight for equal pay in North Lanarkshire which has been raging for the best part of 10 years, of course.

Maybe Elaine is reluctant to criticise the Labour-run council and the Labour-supporting GMB in public, who knows, but I do know that the Scottish Parliament elections take place in May of next year and there comes a time when politicians looking for people's votes need to call a spade a spade.

Otherwise, I suspect, they are unlikely to get themselves elected.