Friday, 13 April 2018

"You ARE the weakest link. Goodbye!"

Here's a great story from the Evening Times which shows the two faces of Glasgow.

Frances Stojilkovic is the kind of honest, good-hearted, down-to-earth person who makes Glasgow such a great place to live and work - she does a low paid job as a Home Carer, which involves lots of unsocial hours and has been fighting Glasgow City Council for equal pay and dignity at work for the past 10 years.   

Annemarie O'Donnell, on the other hand, is Glasgow's chief executive who was paid £252,860 in 2017 - the same year in which the city council's WPBR pay arrangements were condemned as 'unfit for purpose' by the Court of Session, Scotland's highest civil court. Annemarie has also been fighting tooth and nail to defend Glasgow's WPBR pay scheme for the past 10 years. 

If you ask me, it's pretty obvious who is the 'weakest link' in this chain and hopefully it won't be long before Glasgow is saying its goodbyes.

Glasgow equal pay campaigner stars with Anne Robinson in new BBC show
By Catriona Stewart @LadyCatHT - Evening Times

Cordia Care Team Leader - Frances Stojilkovic Picture: Kirsty Anderson

A LOCAL hero is to be a national star as the focus of a new BBC documentary fronted by Anne Robinson.

The Weakest Link star spent two days with Frances Stojilkovic, who is a vocal equal pay campaigner for Glasgow's underpaid women.

Frances caught the eye of BBC producers and now has finished filming with Anne.

Frances said: "It was amazing, she was such a lovely, lovely person and the opposite of how I thought she would be.

"I was expecting her to be like she is on The Weakest Link but she was really easy to talk to.

"I didn't want anyone to miss out on seeing her so I asked if I could film her visit on Facebook Live and she was great.

"She waved to all the women and told us good luck with our fight."

Frances, a Cordia Care Team Leader, set up an Equal Pay Facebook page for a small group of around 30 of her colleagues.

It now has more than 1600 members, who Frances keeps up to date with equal pay news and how to get involved with the campaign.

Glasgow City Council, unions and lawyers are negotiating existing claims, but some estimates have suggested the final bill could be as high as £500 million.

Busy Frances also spearheads the Govanhill Community Campaign, fighting for better conditions for residents in the South Side area.

This week for filming, Anne came to Frances's house to interview her before going out on a visit to Cordia clients.

Then, the TV presenter met with members of the equal pay campaign - and gave them her support.

But Frances is not letting her new found stardom go to her head and said there is still much work to be done.

Frances said the women are now planning to ask their union to ballot for strike action.

She added: "There are still more meetings taking place and we are getting fed up with waiting.

"I think it's time for a bigger push from us to let the council know we are still here and still wanting our money.

"Hopefully the documentary will let more people know what's happening and if anyone sees it who is entitled to money they can get in touch - I don't want anyone to miss out."

The show is set to be broadcast on the BBC in June.

Glasgow - Rewarding Failure (23/03/18)

I plan to publish the salaries paid to all of Glasgow City Council's senior officials on the blog site over the next few days, but to kick things off here is the remuneration package for the Council's Chief Executive, Annemarie O'Donnell, for the year to 31 March 2017.

Basic Salary - £167,853

Election Duty Fees - £46,662

Employer's Pension Contribution - £38,345  

Total Remuneration - £252,860

Now 2017 was the year in which the scandal of equal pay in Glasgow City Council finally came under the spotlight as the Court of Session, Scotland's highest civil court, handed down its damning and unanimous judgement - that the pay arrangements of Scotland's largest council are 'unfit for purpose'.

To add insult to injury, Glasgow City Council now claims to have no proper records to clarify how its controversial WPBR pay scheme was put in place back in 2005/06/07  and senior officials are either unwilling or unable to explain:

  • the WPBR's Terms of Reference
  • the WPBR's procurement arrangements
  • the cost of the WPBR to the public purse 
I don't know about anyone else, but this seems to me like a classic case of 'rewarding failure' with an eye-watering salary package which dwarfs that of the Prime Minister, Theresa May, and Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

It really is a disgrace when Glasgow City Council is in such a scandalous mess over equal pay.


Glasgow - Equal Pay Update (09/01/18)

Here's an interesting article from 'Holyrood Magazine' which was published back in 2014 just as Annemarie O'Donnell's was appointed as the new and first woman chief executive of Glasgow City Council.

The upshot is that Annemarie has been in a variety of senior positions within the council for a very long time - through the Christmas 2005 'capped' settlement offers, the introduction of the WPBR in 2007 and the establishment of Glasgow's ALEOs - before succeeding Ian Drummond as executive director of corporate services and then George Black as CEO.

What puzzles me though is why there has been such a long and hard fight for equal pay in Glasgow when the City Council has such powerful women in its senior ranks?

Regular readers will know that Carole Forrest succeeded Annemarie as executive director of corporate services (which deals with Freedom of Information requests) and that Glasgow now has a woman Lord Provost (Eva Bolander) and a woman council leader (Susan Aitken).

The political changes at the top of the City Council are relatively recent, of course, but isn't it remarkable that the battle over equal pay has been so fierce in Glasgow - even with women officials in the most senior positions.