Glasgow City Council faces strike over £500m equal pay dispute

Glasgow City Council could face a strike as unions accuse it of backtracking on a deal to settle a £500million equal pay dispute.

Unions are to consult with their members over strike action over equal pay – arguing the local authority is delaying the process and could see thousands of workers barred from future pay.

The legal team of claimants from Action4Equality, UNISON, GMB and UNITE have met with council solicitors about the outstanding equal pay claims. There are more than 5,000 claimants, mostly women, who have not yet received a settlement for the period up to March 2018, and 18,000 claimants who are still awaiting a settlement for the period after March 2018.

The board has estimated that the new pay and classification system to eliminate gender pay discrimination will not be implemented until 2024 due to the volume of work involved in evaluating jobs and creating the new system.

Unions are lobbying the council to make new equal pay awards now.

Union bosses said the council has said it is open to discussing payments for those who have had nothing so far, but only for a very small number of jobs that have been paid as part of the agreement reached in 2019.

8,000 Glasgow City Council workers staged a 48-hour march in 2019

If the board seeks to take this approach for claims pending until March 2018, the unions assume that this is also what the board proposes to do for claims after March 2018.

Sylvia Haughney, UNISON branch manager, said: “‘Our members recognize this as a cynical ploy to divide the women of Glasgow, we will not be fooled. We were paid in 2019 because our pay was unequal, nothing was wrong. has since changed, it’s still uneven, so we’re still owed the balance as promised.

“The council says they need more data from claimants. What data does the council say they need? They had the correct data in 2019 to sort this out, we’re still the same people, in the same jobs, in the same pay system. The board now has the right data and they know it, it’s time to pay as promised.

“We will now consult with those members whom we intend to ask to take strike action.”

Shona Thomson, GMB Branch Secretary, said: “Glasgow City Council wishes to exclude over 20% of previously agreed job titles, from any future agreement, without providing any justification or explanation. This would mean that thousands of women who work every day under conditions of wage discrimination will receive nothing, adding insult to injury.

We will not accept the exclusion of our friends and colleagues. We know that when we come together and act we can accomplish anything, we did it last time and we will do it again.

“We will now consult with the members whom we intend to ask to take part in strike action.

Wendy Dunsmore, Industrial Officer at Unite, added: “Glasgow City Council’s delays in paying claimants along with the exclusion of thousands of predominantly female workers from future payments is misleading and inflammatory. We all need to be clear on the situation here, which is that thousands of workers are waiting for the payments due to them for being mistreated.

“The Council is dragging its feet on payments settled until March 2018, while moving the goalposts on claims made after that time.

This infuriates the workers and that is why Unite is consulting our members on this unacceptable situation. There must be further payments to all who have bad debts. Many of these workers don’t have time to wait months and years for their money. Choices are literally made every day by families about the cost of fuel, energy and living.

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Equal pay demands arose from the implementation of the Workforce Pay and Benefits Review (WPBR) program in 2006.

The dispute came to a head in October 2018, when more than 8,000 workers across the city went on strike to force the council to engage in serious negotiations, settle grievances and bring justice to labor wages. ‘work.

It comes after watchdogs at the Board of Auditors praised Scotland’s biggest local authority for its handling of the dispute, which will cost the council £505million to settle.

A report examining the council’s handling of equal pay claims said it had “succeeded in delivering a difficult and complicated project in a relatively short time”.

A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council called the claims “categorically untrue”, adding: In 2019 the council settled a significant number of historic equal pay claims, covering a period from January 1, 2007 as of March 31, 2018. Over the past few weeks, he has been in discussions with representative plaintiffs about a series of more recent claims that had not been processed at that time and that the 2019 settlement expressly did not cover.

“The council has made it clear that it is ready to make tentative offers for a significant number of positions, but representatives have told officers they are not ready to engage with the council to make those offers. to staff.

“And, although the representatives indicated that they would withdraw a number of claims which they said were unfounded, they also refused to show the data from the advice they say they have – and had previously argued that they justified others.

“The board remains ready and willing to make offers in principle and to carefully consider any evidence relating to other positions, if the representatives are willing to provide it.”

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