Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Glasgow - Equal Pay Update

Lots of people ask me questions about equal pay via Facebook which I can't always respond to on an individual basis because that's what my blog site is for - speaking to hundreds, sometimes thousands, of readers at the same time.

So here is a summary response to various Facebook queries about 'old' and 'new' equal pay claims in Glasgow.
  • Any completely new claim registered with the Employment Tribunals jumps back 5 years in time, but also counts going forward until the equal pay dispute with Glasgow is resolved.
  • If someone leaves the City Council's employment, their equal pay claim goes up to their last day of service.
  • If someone has been a client of A4ES for years, say from 2007 onwards, their equal pay claim goes back the full 10 years and also counts going forward until the dispute with Glasgow is revolved.
  • If someone transfers an existing equal pay claim to A4ES (from one of the unions), their case will be re-registered with the Employment Tribunals and, if necessary, a new claim may also be registered to protect people's interests.
  • GMB members have had their equal pay claims restricted to only 3 years and this presents a particular problem. 
  • Any GMB members transferring claims to A4ES will have their claims re-registered and will have a new claim started as well, but they may have to consider separate action against the GMB (and/or its lawyers) if they suffer a financial loss because of the GMB's handling of their original claim. 
  • If someone changes their job or is promoted, they must inform A4ES straight away as it may be necessary to register a new claim to protect people's individual interests.
I will post a link to this post for all the readers who have contacted me via Facebook and will do something similar in response to other queries people raise in future.


Glasgow and Equal Pay

Here's a leaflet from A4ES which will be appearing in the Glasgow press in the days ahead.

The text of the leaflet highlights the fact that because the Council's job evaluation scheme (JES) and WPBR pay arrangements are 'unfit for purpose' - existing employees who have not already registered an equal pay claim can do so now.

Also, anyone who has left the City Council's employment within the past 5 years is now able to register a claim.

And everyone who has been with A4ES from the very beginning will see their claims go back 10 years, ie. all the way back to 2007 when the WPBR pay scheme was first introduced.

The City Council's ALEOs are covered by this decision including: Glasgow Life, Glasgow Housing, City Parking (Glasgow) LLP, Cordia (Service) LLP, City Building (Glasgow) LLP, Glasgow Marketing Bureau Limited, ACCESS LLP, Community Safety Glasgow, Jobs & Business Glasgow and City Property (Glasgow) LLP.  


Glasgow 'Gets' Equality (18/08/17)

After a 12 year long fight Action 4 Equality Scotland has finally won its battle over equal pay with Glasgow City Council. 

The Court of Session (Scotland’s highest civil court) has decided today (18 August 2017) that Glasgow’s City Council’s pay arrangements provided less favourable treatment to thousands of low paid women’s jobs. 

The court’s decision opens the door to thousands of new claims from existing council staff and from former employees who left the City Council’s employment within the past 5 years.

A4ES represents over 6000 claimants in Glasgow, over 80% of the current numbers of cases registered with the Employment Tribunals, and this figure is bound to increase 
dramatically given today’s decision from the Court of Session.

Stefan Cross QC, of Action 4 Equality (Scotland), said: 

”This is really great news for thousands of low paid women workers across Glasgow who put their trust in A4ES to get the job done. 

“We have been saying for years that the City Council could not justify paying highly skilled, hard working staff like Home Carers so much less than gardeners, gravediggers and 
refuse workers.

“The A4ES legal team did a fantastic job in the Court of Session and our determination has been vindicated in the end. 

“There is now bound to be a huge influx of new cases against the City Council which faces a mammoth bill of £250 million after stubbornly refusing to face up to its equal pay 
obligations for the past 12 years.

Once again we urge Glasgow City Council to get round the table to resolve these issues once and for all."

Frances Stojilkovic, a Glasgow Home Care Coordinator and A4ES client said:

“Home Carers in Glasgow are all over the moon because we’ve finally got the recognition our jobs deserve, after being so badly undervalued and underpaid for all this time.

"It's just such a pity we've had to fight the City Council for so long to get justice via the courts, but without Action 4 Equality Scotland and Mark Irvine’s support we would never have won our case. 

“I think I might just head out tonight and have a wee celebration!”

Well, what can I say - the fight for equal pay has dominated my life over the past 12 years, but it sure feels good to be vindicated after all this time.

And the most important thing is that thousands of low paid workers in Glasgow stood up for their rights - and won. 


Many Hands = Light Work (17/08/18)

I get emails from readers every day asking what they can do if anything to help in the fight for equal pay with Glasgow City Council.

Now the focus for the past few months has been on the Court of Session and its decision to uphold the claimants' appeal on 'Protected Pay' which means that women workers are (and were) entitled to receive the same treatment (or no less favourable treatment) as their male colleagues.

I'll have more to say on this in the days ahead, but as everyone gets back to normal after the summer break I think it is fair to say that we're not out of the woods yet.   

Because while there has been a change of political leadership within the City Council, there are still a number of key issues to resolve such as:
  • Glasgow's pay arrangements are not 'open, honest and transparent' - much of the detail about the treatment of traditional male, former bonus earning jobs remains hidden from public view and proper scrutiny
  • City Council officials are refusing FoI requests intended to shine a light on the EDC (Employment Development Commitment) which gave a guarantee to former bonus earners that their higher pay would be maintained beyond the three year protection period.
  • City Council officials appear to be interpreting 'protection' for the women workers in a very different way to the protection arrangements enjoyed by male jobs, even though the City Council has no justification for the huge differences in pay which existed before the WPBR was introduced in 2007. 
  • City Council officials appear to be driven by financial considerations, as they were back in 2005, when thousands of low paid women workers were effectively 'duped' into accepting low offers of settlement worth only a fraction of the true value of their claims.
  • City Council officials find it impossible to explain how the same financial or budgetary constraints never managed to apply to all the traditional male jobs over these past 13 years. 
So there is still work to be done and if the Glasgow campaign has to be re-started in earnest, there will be plenty of opportunities for the thousands of equal pay claimants across the City to play their part.  


Glasgow and Equal Pay (16/08/17)

Lots of readers from Glasgow have been in touch to ask why it's taking so long to reach a settlement of people's equal pay claims especially as the City Council has not appealed the recent decision of the Court of Session.

As regular readers will recall, the Court of Session decision related to the 'protection period' following the introduction of the City Council's new WPBR pay arrangements in 2006/07 and the court decided that the women claimants were entitled to receive the same treatment (or no less favourable treatment) as their male comparators.

So far so good.

But the City Council is now trying to limit the range of male jobs which women claimants can use to compare their earnings and differences in pay - by arguing that 'male comparators' should be restricted to the new pay arrangements which applied under the WPBR scheme.

Now if you ask me, this proposal is completely bonkers and blatantly unfair.

Because it would prevent the women claimants from comparing their treatment to that of various high earning, former bonus paying jobs like Gravediggers, Gardeners and Refuse Workers which under the old (pre-WPBR) pay arrangements were on lower grades than their female colleagues.

In other words the Council seems to be getting up to its old tricks again and if its argument were to prevail, this would significantly reduce the value of people's outstanding equal pay claims. 

As far as A4ES is concerned the underlying problem is that Glasgow's pay arrangements are the exact opposite of 'open, honest and transparent' - and this needs to change. 

The comparison that needs to be made is between the pay arrangements that existed before the WPBR was introduced in 2006/07 because the only way that women can receive the same treatment as the men is for their pay to be 'equalised', or brought into line with the pay of the men, before pay protection arrangements are considered.

If this had happened back in 2006/07, as it should, then no less favourable treatment for the women's jobs would have ensured that a Home Carer could not be paid less than a Gravedigger, Gardener or a Refuse Worker in 2017.

Glasgow may now be heading down the same path as neighbouring councils in North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire, despite the fact that the legal strategy followed by those two councils ended in abject defeat.

Time will tell because the City Council will be forced to make its position clear in the weeks  ahead.

So watch this space - and keep spreading the word to as many people as possible via Twitter and Facebook.


Glasgow - Musical Chairs (13/08/17)Image result for Musical chairs

What does the fight for equal pay in Glasgow City Council have to do with the old party game of 'Musical Chairs?

Find out on the blog site this coming week when all shall be revealed - in the meantime here's your starter for 10, as they say on University Challenge.


Glasgow's Pay Arrangements (11/0817)

I submitted an FoI request to Glasgow City Council earlier this year asking for details on the comparative rates of pay for various traditional male jobs.

One of the jobs I asked about was that of Garage Engineer and back in 2007 this enjoyed a similar basic rate pay to that of a Home Carer, for example, of £6.92 - although the male job was also receiving a big bonus which the Council has still not disclosed.

I specifically asked the Council to provide pay information for 2007 and again in 2017 to see how things had changed over that 10 year period and this is what GCC had to say. 

Garage Engineer (Pre-WPBR Grade - EO1, Post WPBR Grade - 5)

Bonus Pay Bonus payments for employees in this post was variable from week to week.

Annual Salary £269.90 basic per week

Hourly Rate of Pay £6.92


Bonus Pay No Bonus payments received.

Annual Salary Core Pay is £25,098.63

Hourly Rate of Pay £13.75

So over the course the past 10 years and as a result of the WPBR pay scheme the basic pay of this male dominated job has risen to £25,000 which is clearly much higher than the basic pay of a Home Carer, for example, or a similarly graded job done by women workers.

As readers can see for themselves, the hourly rate of pay for this male job has also increased dramatically, almost doubling from £6.92 to £13.75

Now if anyone can show me a comparative female job that has fared nearly so well under Glasgow's controversial WPBR scheme, I promise to jump into the River Clyde on the morning of New Year's Day 2018. 

The big question for the City Council and for future settlement negotiations is: "How come this traditional male job (and many others like it) did so well out of the new WPBR pay arrangements - when their women colleagues fared so poorly?" 


Facebook and Twitter

Image result for twitter images

Keep up with all the latest equal pay news in Glasgow and spread the word to co-workers and friends by following Mark Irvine on Facebook and Twitter -  


All you need is a mobile phone!


Glasgow and Equal Pay (25/05/17)

I received an email the other day from a reader in Glasgow asking if I could send out updates by post, for the benefit of people who don't have access to the internet. 

Here's what I said in reply:

Hi Ann

I update my blog site several times a week, as you probably know, so it's really not possible for me to produce separate briefings for individuals or small groups - I just don't have the time.

I also do put all the equal pay blog posts on Twitter and Facebook.

So anyone with a mobile phone (which is just about everyone these days) can follow me on Twitter or Facebook and get access to my blog site that way.

Here's my Twitter address -  - and a quick search on Facebook will bring up my A4ES pages. 

Hope that helps.

Kind regards


So for anyone who doesn't have a computer-based internet access at home - there is more than one way to skin this cat by using Twitter and Facebook.

Trump's True Face

The front cover of Der Spiegel shows the 'true face' of Donald Trump and the magazine also highlights a KKK connection withTrump's father, Fred, who was arrested in the wake of a violent Klan rally in New York back in the 1920s. 

Could it be that that Trump's ambivalence about condemning white supremacists has something to do with the environment young Donald grew up in at home?

I'll bet you a pound to a penny that Mississippi Burning and Django Unchained are nowhere near the top of Trump's list of all time favourite movies.


Trump's America (21/08/17)

Another great cartoon making fun of Donald Trump after his toxic remarks about there being some 'fine people' on the recent match in Charlottesville by the KKK, white supremacists and Neo Nazis.


Trump's America (20/08/17)

Donald Trump is seems intent on destroying his already beleaguered presidency with ill-judged comments about there being some 'fine people' among the Ku Klux Klan, Neo Nazis and white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville the other day.

Ben Jennings 'nails it' with this great cartoon depicting Trump in a corner, tweeting away furiously, unconcerned about the enormous harm he is doing with his crazy, out of control behaviour. 


Trump's America (16/008/17)

Image may contain: 1 person, standing

Politicians are not necessarily responsible for the people who pledge loyalty to their cause, in much the same way as football clubs can't stop supporters from following their favourite team.

Unless, of course, said supporters step out of line, start behaving like hooligans, turn violent and threaten other people's safety, at which point those in positions of leadership have a duty to respond.

By any measure you care to use Donald Trump has failed this test of leadership because while he speaks of 'unifying' America he has a track record of goading and encouraging the worst instincts of his fan base.

The obvious example being his 'birther' campaign President Barack Obama which candidate Trump used to smear a Democrat President in a vile, racially motivated way.  

The young child wearing a Ku Klux Klan suit is a symptom and a symbol of Trump's America. 


Trump's America (02/01/17)

Yet another Trump supporter, Trent Bennett, a science teacher from Arkansas, has been exposed after making ugly racial comments about President Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama whom he described as a 'chimp".

Now of course there are out of control supporters in every highly charged political situation, but this kind of vile behaviour is inexcusable and deserves to be condemned out of hand buy the President-elect himself.

Except that Donald Trump has encouraged his followers to believe that Barack Obama is not a legitimate POTUS with this involvement in the so-called 'birther' campaign alleging that President Obama is really not an American citizen.     

Trump accepted subsequently that these allegations are completely false but lots of his supporters don't seem to have got the message - or don't want to perhaps having been whipped up into a frenzy of anger and prejudice. 



Teacher resigns after posting racist Facebook comments about Barack and Michelle Obama

Trent Bennett also promised to delete his social media accounts

By Justin Carissimo - The Independent
First Lady Michelle Obama and U.S. President Barack Obama wait for leaders to arrive for the Nordic state dinner on the North Portico at the White House, May 13, 2016, in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty

Trent Bennett, a science teacher at Malvern High School in Arkansas, resigned from his position on Thursday after posting racist comments against Barack and Michelle Obama on Facebook.

While commenting on KTHV-TV’s Facebook page last week, Bennett called the first lady “Michelle Obummer” and “America’s First Chimp.” He also admitted that he was happy to see "that nasty chimp and her spider monkey hubby gone for good."In subsequent posts, he repeated the false assertions that President Obama was born in Kenya—he was born in Hawaii.

The teacher also complained about the protests over the police shootings of African-Americans by calling protesters "monkeys."

Trump's America (30/12/16)

Lots of Donald Trump's supporters are successful, intelligent and often people, but a significant number are lumpen 'hillbillies' like this chap who believes that Barack Obama played a big part in the 9/11 terror attacks on America in 2001.  

Now that was fully seven years before Barack Obama won his first presidential election in 2008, but why let the facts get in the way of a good story, as the saying goes.

But that's the state of American politics these days where ugly lies and fake 'news' stories are all 'grist to the mill' of Trump's right wing supporters who have taken over the Republican Party.


Ape in Heels (14/12/116)

Image result for bad role model + images

Donald Trump is seldom away from Twitter as everyone knows (to coin a favourite phrase), but I've yet to hear him call out one of his own supporters who described Michelle Obama, as an 'ape in heels'.

Now there is no doubt that these words from a public official amount to ugly, unacceptable and racist language - from one of his own "Make America Great Again' supporters.

So you would think that the President-elect would have no hesitation in condemning such vile behaviour in the strongest possible terms.

But while Donald rails against Saturday Night Live (a satirical programme) for poking fun at his (often bizarre) behaviour, he's as quite as a church mouse when it comes to denouncing this racial abuse of America's First Lady.   



West Virginia official who called Michelle Obama ‘ape in heels’ returns to work

Pamela Ramsey Taylor says 'it will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House'

By Shehab Khan - The Independent
Michelle Obama - AP

The director of a non-profit organisation in West Virginia will return to work after being suspended for referring to Michelle Obama as an “ape”.

Pamela Ramsey Taylor, a director at Clay County Development Corporation, West Virginia, posted the comment on Facebook and was suspended from her role at the Development Corporation.

She is now set to return to her job later this month, according to a letter seen by Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Ms Taylor initially took to Facebook in support of Donald Trump’s victory in the US election. 

Trump Supporters (16/11/16)

The Washington Post reports on the ugly behaviour of two public officials in West Virginian who mocked Michelle Obama, America's First Lady, as "a Ape in heels." 

Pamela Ramsey Taylor, a director of Clay County development corporation posted the following comment on Facebook after Donald Trump's election as president, ushering in Michelle Obama's replacement as First Lady by Melania Trump:

"It will be so refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady back in the White House", before adding:

"I'm tired of seeing a Ape in heels."

The local mayor Beverly Whaling is then reported as replying with the words:

"Just made my day Pam." 

"What the fuck's wrong with these people?" is the question any reasonable person is bound to ask and, of course, Team Trump bears some responsibility given the hateful tone of the recent election campaign.  

Read the full story in via the link below to The Washington Post, but as usual having been caught red-handed the two individuals involved deny their behaviour was racist.


Image result for ape in heels + images