Glasgow City Council to discuss equal pay with unions

Image caption,
Some claim the issue could cost the council as much as £500m to resolve

Glasgow City Council says "negotiation not litigation" will solve the dispute over equal pay for some women workers.

The council has agreed not to appeal against a court decision last year over the grading system and will now discuss a settlement with the unions.

The dispute centres on the way some jobs were graded several years ago.

It meant workers such as cleaners and care assistants may have been earning less than men in jobs deemed to be of equal value.

Unions welcomed the decision while the council leader said it drew a line under the actions of the previous administration.

Detailed talks will now take place between the council and unions.

Thousands of current and former staff are expected to be entitled to a pay rise or backpay in compensation.

Some claim the issue could cost the council as much as £500m to resolve.

Campaigners won a legal case in August when it was ruled that a pay re-grading scheme may have been less favourable for women workers.

Carol Ball, chairwoman of Unison's Glasgow City branch, said: "This is a great day for the low-paid cleaners, carers, caterers and others working for Glasgow City Council who have waited 10 years for pay equality. A great day, but just the first day in the process of moving to equality - because settlement takes time.

"Our members have waited long enough for the fair and equal pay they have worked hard for and deserve."

Decade of litigation

Amanda Green, a Unison member and home carer, said: "It's been a long and difficult struggle to get Glasgow City Council to finally commit to treating women fairly. We work hard to deliver the services the people of Glasgow rely on and all we are asking is for women to be valued and treated equally."

The leader of Glasgow City Council Susan Aitken said today's move drew a line under what she called "a decade of litigation" under the previous Labour administration.

She said: "This council under the previous Labour administration was involved in litigation for over a decade. The new city government has today led on drawing a line under that. Instead we seek a solution through on-going negotiation.

"We need to send a strong message to our lower paid female employees that we value the crucial work that you do, and we believe you should be paid equally for it compared to others doing similar work.

"Our equal pay negotiations will assess claims, set comparators and determine if compensation is due. This is a complex process which will take time to complete but all parties are willing and this is the right way for us to resolve this."

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