Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Glasgow's Fight for Equal Pay



The Evening Times reports that Glasgow City Council is to vote on a report marking the conclusion of its long-running equal pay dispute which goes all the way back to 2005. 

At the same time the report acknowledges the Council has still to replace its 'unfit for purpose' WPBR pay scheme which helped cause all this trouble in the first place.

So this doesn't sound like much of a conclusion to me, especially as the WPBR won't be replaced for some time to come. 

Apparently, this flurry of activity has been prompted by dusting down an Audit Scotland report from February 2020 which doesn't have a word to say about the Glasgow claimants, their long fight with successive Council administrations - or the fact that the claimants had to go on strike (in October 2018) to force the Council into facing up to its obligations on equal pay.      

I can't say I'm surprised because the reality is that Audit Scotland (a public spending watchdog would you believe) has been 'missing in action' over the past 15 years while the fight for equal pay has been raging in Scotland's 32 local councils.

Audit Scotland had nothing to say about the 'bonus culture' in Scotland's councils back in 2005, for example, which meant that traditional male council jobs were paid much higher than female dominated jobs.

Audit Scotland had nothing to say about the 'unfit for purpose' WPBR which the Council introduced in 2007 even though this scheme was designed to maintain all the old pay differences between male and female council jobs.

Audit Scotland had nothing to say during the 10 year court battle with the Labour-run council which resulted in the Court of Session, Scotland's highest civil court, condemning the WPBR as 'unfit for purpose' in August 2017.

And Audit Scotland had nothing to say about Glasgow's new SNP-led council trying to overturn this landmark 'unfit for purpose' WPBR judgment which resulted in the council losing its appeal in another unanimous judgment from the Court of Session in December 2017.

Now politicians, of all stripes, are quick to pat themselves on the back but the truth is that thousands of low paid workers fought successive council administrations to win this battle - and will do so again, if the need arises.

No one, but no one handed Glasgow's equal pay claimants anything on a plate. 

 


Glasgow City councillors to vote on report to conclude decade-long equal pay dispute



By Catherine Hunter - Glasgow Times


GLASGOW councillors are expected to agree a report from Audit Scotland concluding the equal pay dispute which spanned more than a decade.

A document which is being presented to the city administration committee on Thursday, via teleconference, completes the settlement and acknowledges the council’s ongoing commitment to implement a new pay and grading structure.

READ MORE: 'We didn't want to forget them': Tree planted in Glasgow Green in tribute to workers who died before equal pay claim success

Findings from the statutory report, which was circulated to all council members on January 3 and scrutinised shortly after, were published on Audit Scotland’s website on February 6.

A report of this nature would normally be presented at the next full council meeting, but with the country in lockdown, it was decided the findings would be submitted to the city administration committee for approval.

The Accounts Commission report states: “We are therefore pleased to commend the council on the Controller’s conclusion that it has successfully delivered a challenging and complicated project within a relatively short period of time.

“We welcome the effective governance arrangements that the council put in place to oversee the project, alongside appropriate controls to the calculation and payment of settlements.”

The report also recognises the ongoing effort to help those not covered in this agreement and accepts that further claims may arise.

A council spokesman said: “This was one of the biggest projects of its kind ever undertaken by a local authority – delivered against an extremely challenging timescale.

“We’re obviously pleased that the commission has recognised this and endorsed the governance arrangements put in place by the council.

“At all times, our priority has been to get the right result for claimants, the rest of our workforce and the hundreds of thousands of Glaswegians who depend upon the services the council provides.”