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Equal pay: Call for inquiry over 'troubling' Glasgow fees

image captionEmployment lawyer Carol Fox said she was "troubled" by aspects of the settlement

A high-profile lawyer has called for an inquiry into Glasgow City Council's £548m equal pay settlement.

Carol Fox, a former solicitor, who was instrumental in litigating against councils across Scotland, made the call following a BBC Disclosure programme.

Ms Fox said she was "troubled" that women who were represented by unions had paid fees, which were believed to be about 6.9% of each settlement.

She said the women should be given an "immediate refund".

The Great Equal Pay Scandal documentary revealed that all 16,000 claimants who received a payout in the long-running equal pay dispute had legal fees deducted from their settlement.

This included women represented by unions which had told members they would not pay any costs.

A proportion of the legal fees went to private claims company called Action 4 Equality, run by lawyer Stefan Cross, which had represented the largest group of claimants.

Almost half of the settled claims were pursued by the three unions - Unison, GMB and Unite.

image captionStefan Cross was the claims lawyer who acted for the majority of the women

Ms Fox, who worked on the Glasgow equal pay claim until 2015, told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland: "The union women were always told they would get 100% of any settlement, that they didn't pay fees.

"The Action 4 Equality women had a signed document where they knew that fees would be paid."

She said: "I really do think there needs to be a full inquiry, whether that's a parliamentary inquiry, an inquiry by the Law Society of Scotland, to look at what has happened here.

"I would call for the books of Action 4 Equality to be opened up to scrutiny."

Ms Fox's firm worked on the Glasgow equal pay case until 2015 but had no part in the final negotiations.

The former lawyer said: "Those people who can't see the problem here, are very much part of the problem."

In Monday night's programme, Action 4 Equality's Stefan Cross said "all claimants" had paid 6.9% in fees.

"They're being paid by everybody," he said. "All claimants. It's a team effort."

The three unions - GMB, Unison and Unite - told the programme no union claimants had paid legal fees, and none was left at a detriment from the deal.

Related Topics

  • Gender pay gap
  • Glasgow
  • Glasgow City Council

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