Tuesday, 14 November 2017

A4ES - Readers' Questions

Lots of readers from Glasgow have been in touch recently to check on the status of their equal pay claims with Action 4 Equality Scotland (A4ES) and/or to update their personal details on the A4ES records system.

You can now check things for yourself and update you personal details, as necessary, via the following link to the A4ES web site: www.a4es.co.uk 

Choose the 'Client Checker' tab from the drop down menu and enter the information requested, including your National Insurance number, and the system will confirm if you already have an qual pay claim registered with A4ES.

If your personal records need updating, you can do this easily by sending a separate email to: enquiries@action4equality.co.uk 


Glasgow and Equal Pay

I've had lots of enquiries from Glasgow in recent days with people asking for advice on the following topics: 

"Can I pursue a new equal pay claim with Action 4 Equality Scotland?"

Now the answer to this question is 'Yes', by and large, for the reasons explained below, but please note there are different categories of potential new claimants.

Can existing council employees raise new claims?

Existing Glasgow employees who have never before registered a claim can do so now because the recent Court of Session decision has thrown a big spanner into the works of the City Council's pay protection arrangements.

As regular readers know, the Court has already decided that the pay protection scheme (PPS) should have been extended to the claimants' jobs as well as the jobs of the former bonus earning (male) comparators.  

The PPS should have ended after three years, but the judges also noted that the City Council's Employee Development Commitment (EDC) gave further protection to these male comparator jobs without any limit of time, after the threat of industrial action by the unions.

So all Glasgow employees, even those who do not currently have a claim, have the ability to argue that their jobs should receive the same treatment as their male comparators.

If the Court of Session goes on to find the City Council's job evaluation (JE) scheme is 'unfit for purpose', this will simply reinforce the case for claimant jobs to receive equal treatment.  

Can I still claim even if I left the Council's employment some time ago?

Yes, following a recent decision by the UK Supreme Court it is now possible to make claims in the Sheriff Court and then have them transferred over to the Employment Tribunal. 

In Scotland the maximum period claimants can go back is 5 years.

So if you left the council more than five years ago then you will not be able to claim. There is also a slightly higher initial fee to be paid by going down the Sheriff Court route, but this will be paid upfront by A4ES and recovered from claimants' settlements.

Can I transfer my existing equal pay claim from the GMB to Action 4 Equality Scotland?

Again the answer is 'Yes' although this has to be qualified slightly because the GMB has a terrible track record for making a mess of their members equal pay claims.

In North Lanarkshire, for example, the GMB restricted its members claims to only 3 years unlike all the other claimant organisations who followed Action 4 Equality Scotland's lead.

The GMB appears to have done the same in Glasgow where the union is not challenging the EDC Pay Protection Scheme (PPS) and is not part of the second appeal in the Court of Session regarding the City Council's job evaluation (JE) scheme and the WPBR pay arrangements.

The A4ES legal team would obviously need to assess GMB cases on an individual basis to ensure that they can be taken forward and have not been compromised in some way.

How do I make new equal pay claim with Action 4 Equality Scotland?

In one of the following ways: