Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Sign the Petition!

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I've been speaking to some nice people in the Scottish Parliament about my petition to make big union bureaucracies more accountable to individual union members. 

The upshot is that I've decided to direct my petition towards the UK Government since the regulation of trade unions is a matter that is reserved to the Westminster Parliament.

To get things off the ground I require five other people (who must be UK citizens) to sign the petition before it will go 'live' on the UK Government's web site.

Here's the link I've been sent by the Petitions Team at Westminster, so if you are in favour of levelling this terribly uneven playing field, then fire away - and once the petition is 'alive and kicking', so to speak, I can think about how to generate more support.  



I’ve made a petition – will you sign it? Click this link to sign the petition:
My petition:
Government should introduce an independent complaints process for trade unions.
In 1999 Scotland's council employers and the trade unions (GMB, Unison and Unite) agreed to end widespread pay discrimination against low paid predominantly female jobs including carers, catering workers, cleaners, clerical workers and classroom assistants - but this commitment was never delivered.
In 2005 thousands of equal pay claims were lodged in employment tribunals after a campaign led by Action 4 Equality Scotland. Many individual members lost out because of poor advice from their unions. For example, in North Lanarkshire where the GMB restricted members' claims to only 3 years and South Lanarkshire where members were advised not to pursue claims against their local Labour-run council. An independent complaints process would bring unions into line with other areas of public life.

Troll Hunt

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A friend of mine on Facebook tells me that someone 'reported' the following post from the blog site which is about 'Baloney and Equal Pay'.

Apparently this means that the Facebook Team have a look at the post (because it appears on Facebook as well as Blogger) and can remove any content they deem to be offensive. 

As I haven't heard from anyone at Facebook, I can only conclude that the 'report' was down to some sad internet troll who doesn't have the courage to contact me directly and have their say.

So the hunt is on to find the person responsible although the good news is that they have just given me a good reason to republish the post which, as it happens, has proved to be incredibly popular in recent days. 

Baloney on Equal Pay (28/09/15)



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I wonder who Kezia Dugdale is talking about the other day when she proclaimed that 'we' need feminists in positions of power, herself perhaps or other members of the Scottish Labour Party.

In a speech to the Labour Party's annual women's conference at the weekend, Kezia declared, without a trace of irony, apparently, that: “Every great leap forward for women in our country has been delivered by a united, radical Labour movement.”

Now this is a load of old baloney if you ask me, because as regular readers know the fight for equal pay over the past 10 years has been led by Action 4 Equality Scotland, often in the face of opposition from big Labour-run councils and their friends in the Labour-supporting trade unions. 

Here are some more extracts from Kezia's speech which is reported in detail by The Scotsman:

"Much has been made of the fact that in Scotland we have all three main parties led by women.

"But, as we struggle for equality, we should remember that while we want equal representation for its own sake, it is also a means to an end. It must be used to deliver equality for all women, not just politicians.

"I get frustrated when I hear people say that having a woman in power is an inspiration, as if that by itself is enough to transform the lives of young women in Scotland.

"Young women are told 'if you are good enough and work hard enough, you can achieve anything'.

"We hear it each time a woman is elected to high office and we hear it again in Scotland today. It just isn't true."


http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/kezia-dugdale-we-need-feminists-in-positions-of-power-1-3898990

Now I agree that getting women into positions of influence is a means to an end, not an end in itself, but where has the Scottish Labour party and its leading women figures been for the past years?

I don't, for example, remember Johann Lamont speaking out over the issue of equal pay when she was Scottish Labour leader or her friend Margaret Curran who was shadow Scotland secretary under Ed Miliband's government.

"So what planet are these people living on?" is the question that jumps into my head.

And not just that because it's easy for people to wear their political hearts on their sleeves and call themselves 'feminists', as if a feminist label or badge means that they will speak up and do the right thing when the chips are down.

Because that's not my experience of fighting for equal pay in Scotland over the past 10 years during which times I've come across lots of self-proclaimed feminists who can 'talk the talk', but not 'walk the walk' when it comes to challenging vested interests.

Kinder, Gentler, Screwier

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I listened to Jeremy Corbyn's speech to the annual Labour conference yesterday and came away with the impression that 'Jezza' is a strange cross between Forrest Gump, Elmer Fudd and Elmer Gantry.

Now there were things that Jeremy said with which I agreed, for example his call for the UK Government to condemn the threatened beheading of a young Saudi man, Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr, for taking part in political protests against the Saudi Arabian Government.

But this is cheap politics, playing to the gallery, rather than a serious stand against the intolerance of religious theocracies in parts of the Islamic world, where human rights and minority rights have little, if any, meaning.

Otherwise the Labour leader would have something to say about the role of Iran which issued a 'fatwa' (a call to murder) against the British Indian author Salman Rushdie, or the cold-blooded murder of secular bloggers by Islamist fanatics in Bangladesh, for example.

So while Jeremy was happy to take pot shots at easy targets, he had nothing of any substance to say about the UK economy or the real elephant in the room: 

"Why did Labour lost the last general election so spectacularly, under it previous leader Ed Miliband whose political programme that looks eerily similar to that of Project Corbyn.

Like other viewers I enjoyed Jeremy's quotes from Maya Angelou and Ben Okri, which brightened up an otherwise dull and boring affair, but when you boil it all down this was more of a plea for everyone to much 'nicer' to one another than a serious political speech. 
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Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny
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Burt Lancaster as Elmer Gantry

Serious Misconduct

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The Herald reported a decision of the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal (SSDT) the other day which resulted in a solicitor, Christopher Hales, being struck-off and removed from the profession.

Now I was a member of the SSDT for 8 years and I know from personal experience that the tribunal deals only with the serious allegations of professional misconduct, so for someone to be struck-off (the most serious sanction available) the evidence has to be convincing.

The SSDT's decision was given added spice because the solicitor involved acted for the Edinburgh West SNP MP, Michelle Thomson, and her husband who were partners in MF Property Solutions.

The Herald highlighted one of the property deals in which a pensioner with cancer who was desperate to return to England to be with her family sold her home in Stirling to former journalist and business partner of Ms Thomson, Frank Gilbride, for £64,000 in 2010.

Yet in what is known as a 'back-to-back' sale Ms Thomson bought the property that very same day for £95,000 and received a "cashback" of £28,181.80 from Mr Gilbride.

A very strange way of doing business if you ask me, because it suggests that property was being bought, sold and mortgaged for much less than its real value, which is presumably why the SSDT threw the book at the solicitor who facilitated the deal, Christopher Hales. 

Read the full article by following this link to The Herald online:

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13789456.Labour_demand__full_transparency__over_SNP_MP_s_property_deals/

Since writing this post I hear that Michelle Thomson MP who denies any wrongdoing has had the party whip withdrawn.

South Lanarkshire Update



I wrote the other day about Manual Worker job evaluation scheme (JES) and the significance of the job outline for Home Helps which resulted in a score of 24 points and a high grade of MW5 under the Scotland-wide agreement known as the Green Book.

Before going on to consider the position in South Lanarkshire and what was said at the long-running employment tribunal hearing against the Council, I thought it would be helpful to share the scores and grade of two other predominantly male Manual Worker jobs - those of Refuse Collector and Refuse Driver.

Now both male jobs scored significantly lower than Home Carers with the Refuse Collector achieving 16 points and MW Grade 2, while the Refuse Driver managed a total of 19 points and MW Grade 4.

As I've said before on the blog site, job evaluation isn't rocket science - it's about common sense, fairness and consistency in looking at the skills and responsibilities of different jobs before deciding how these jobs should be placed in a pay hierarchy or pay ladder.

In this case a council pay ladder and it's obvious from these scores why Home Carers ended up with more points and a higher grade than their male colleagues and, for that matter, why a Refuse Driver achieved 19 points and Grade 4 while the Refuse Collector managed only 16 points and Grade 2.

Yet because of the hidden bonus payments to these male jobs (and many others besides) managed to leapfrog over the Home Carers in terms of their hourly pay and Refuse Drivers and Refuse Collectors were typical earning over £9.00 an hour while the women workers were being paid only £6.00 an hour.

The 1999 Single Status Agreement was, of course, intended to change all this and sweep away the widespread pay discrimination that had existed throughout the 1990s.

Yet, as regular readers know, the council employers and the trade unions effectively allowed this landmark equal pay agreement to wither and die until Action 4 Equality Scotland finally appeared on the scene in 2005. 

More to follow, so watch this space.


Home Help

MW (Manual Worker) Grade 5

OUTLINE OF DUTIES

Have individual responsibility, in accordance with the practices and procedures of the local authority, for the personal needs of clients. The duties will include: domestic duties (for example cleaning, cooking and washing), physical tasks approximating to home care (for example, washing and feeding clients); and social duties (for example taking with clients, helping clients to maintain contact with family, friends and community, assisting with shopping and recreation) aimed at creating a supportive homely atmosphere where clients can achieve maximum independence.

Also providing general support to the cline as part of a caring team liaising with other services as necessary.

Factor levels:

Skill - 4
People - 4
Responsibility - 2
Supervision - 2
Initiative - 3
Mental Effort - 3
Physical Effort - 3
Working Conditions - 3 

Total - 24


Refuse Collector

MW (Manual Worker) Grade 2

OUTLINE OF DUTIES

Undertake, usually as a member of a team, duties connected with the removal of household, industrial and commercial refuse from a variety of locations (for example houses, shops, school).

This could involve the use of a full range of refuse containers (for example household bins, plastic sacks, 'wheely bins', paladin bins).

Assisting the driver on safe manoeuvring of the vehicle on the round or at the disposl location.

Factor levels:

Skill - 2
People - 1
Responsibility - 1
Supervision - 1
Initiative - 1
Mental Effort - 2
Physical Effort - 4
Working Conditions - 4 

Total - 16


Refuse Driver

MW (Manual Worker) Grade 4

OUTLINE OF DUTIES

Drive and be responsible for any allocated refuse collection vehicle. Duties will include: vehicle checks, required routine maintenance (for example oil and water checks) and cleaning and the operation of any power mechanism which may be fitted; the collection of refuse within a round and the necessary tipping; transporting and supervision of the crew with responsibility for the operation of the service on that round. When not driving the driver may assist in the loading of the vehicle.

The refuse driver is also responsible for ensuring with the crew the best operational relationships between the service and members of the public. 

Factor levels:

Skill - 4
People - 1
Responsibility - 3
Supervision - 1
Initiative - 2
Mental Effort - 3
Physical Effort - 2
Working Conditions - 3 

Total - 19

Chum Clubs (27/08/15)



The performance of trade unions in topical again as members in South Lanarkshire, for example, question whether their interests have been properly represented by local branch officials.

Now I wrote about the phenomenon of 'chum clubs' some time ago and my view is that  all too often union branches and union hierarchies are highly unrepresentative and fail to reflect the much more diverse views of ordinary union members.   

So it doesn't surprise me to learn that lots of union activists are rallying behind the campaign to elect Jeremy Corbyn as the next Labour leader, because these activists represent a tiny proportion of the wider union membership.

Just like Jeremy these individuals tend to be old-fashioned, left wing ideologues who treat politics like a form of religion which has unshakeable truths and certainties, as if the world can be broken down into 'them and us' 'goodies and baddies' in which trade unions play a noble and selfless role

Yet as has been shown in the fight for equal pay this is a complete distortion of real events in Scotland where old fashioned, 'left wing' trade unions combined with old- fashioned, 'left wing' Labour councils to deny thousands of low paid women workers the new and fair deal they were promised under the 1999 Single Status (Equal Pay) Agreement.  

Chum Clubs (14 November 2014)


Here's a post from the blog site archive about the tendency for trade union branches to turn into 'chum clubs', where the same small handful of people run the show, for years and years, while claiming that they represent and speak on behalf of a much wider group of members.

Now the normal defence of a 'chum club' faced with such a charge is that their doors are open to everyone and it's not their fault if people can't be bothered to turn up and take part in their activities.

So, if the bulk of people don't show up don't stand for election or bother to vote, then why should the 'chum club' be criticised for the apathy or disinterest of the wider membership.

And if that means the same tired old faces get elected to positions of authority time and again, then so what, at least the process is democratic and within the rules. 

I would be the first to admit there's a kernel of truth in the 'so what' argument, but that's about as far as it goes because the difference between trade unions and other voluntary organisations is that they claim to speak with authority on behalf of their wider membership.

For example, there's no doubt that Len McCluskey was elected by a 'democratic' vote of Unite members, but in reality so few members took part in the leadership election that his claim to have a mandate to speak on behalf of 1.6 million union members looks rather ridiculous to say the very least.

"Well that's as may be, but don't single us out," says the chum club. "Because politicians get elected on low turnouts as well and no one argues about their legitimacy or ability to represent the wider electorate."   

But that's not really true because politicians are always arguing about the fairness of electoral contests - the need to make it easier for people to vote and take part - postal votes spring to mind and the next big step surely ought to be secure voting by email and text.

In addition political elections have other important checks and balances, the obvious example being PR (Proportional Representation) which is designed to ensure that no single party can dominate elections, the safeguard is fair or at least fairer representation.

Whereas trade unions operate like Labour only 'closed shops' which means that a trade union like Unite recruits at a senior level only Labour supporting candidates - and under Len McCluskey's leadership the union appears to be interested only in promoting people who resemble Len McCluskey - broadly and politically speaking, of course.  

SLC Update (27/09/15)



Here's an extract from the old Manual Worker job evaluation scheme (JES) which remained in place from the 1980s until new pay and JES arrangements were put in place by the Scottish Council employers under the 1999 Single Status (Equal Pay) Agreement.

In South Lanarkshire the council management and the trade unions both claimed that they  implemented 'satisfactory' new arrangements in 2004, although as regular readers know the South Lanarkshire JES was subsequently shown to be 'unfit for purpose' following a long-running Employment Tribunal hearing initiated by Action 4 Equality Scotland.

Some councils took even longer to introduce new pay and JES arrangements, but that's another story for another day.  

The significance of the following extract from the old Green Book (as it was called) JES lies in the reference to true "physical tasks" and "social duties" required of Home Carers back in the late 1980s which demonstrates, conclusively, that a major part of these jobs was to help their clients to live independently in their own homes.

In other words, the outdated image of Home Carers just making cups of tea and 'hoovering the carpet' had disappeared long ago and this was reflected in the Manual Worker 5 Grade that Home Carers were awarded - higher than that of a council refuse collector, refuse driver of gravedigger, for example. 

Yet because the Home Carers jobs did not receive big bonus payments the male jobs all ended up being paid much more than the women - with the men getting £9.00 and hour or more, while the female carers (and other similar jobs) lagged way behind on only £6.00 an hour to thereabouts.

Now why is this important?

Because I've now finished reading written witness statement prepared by the Unison branch secretary in South Lanarkshire, Stephen Smellie, for the marathon tribunal hearing against South Lanarkshire Council. 

And before I share with readers what Mr Smellie had to say, I think's it's important that everyone understand some basic facts about the old Manual Worker jobs and how they were graded. 

More to follow in the days ahead.


Home Help

MW (Manual Worker) Grade 5

OUTLINE OF DUTIES

Have individual responsibility, in accordance with the practices and procedures of the local authority, for the personal needs of clients. The duties will include: domestic duties (for example cleaning, cooking and washing), physical tasks approximating to home care (for example, washing and feeding clients); and social duties (for example taking with clients, helping clients to maintain contact with family, friends and community, assisting with shopping and recreation) aimed at creating a supportive homely atmosphere where clients can achieve maximum independence.

Also providing general support to the cline as part of a caring team liaising with other services as necessary.

Factor levels:

Skill - 4
People - 4
Responsibility - 2
Supervision - 2
Initiative - 3
Mental Effort - 3
Physical Effort - 3
Working Conditions - 3 

Total - 24

SLC Update (23/09/15)


Wonders will never cease it seems!

Because a kind person from South Lanarkshire has sent me a copy of the written witness statement prepared by Stephen Smellie, the local Unison branch secretary, for the long-running employment tribunal hearing against South Lanarkshire Council.

Now I haven't had time to study the document as yet, but I imagine it will make very interesting reading and when I get the chance to do so I will share my thoughts on the blog site.

In the meantime, here's my own witness statement to the South Lanarkshire employment tribunal from which readers will be able to tell that my evidence was 100% behind the case being made on behalf of the women claimants.   


South Lanarkshire Update (19/08/15)


I mentioned the long-running employment tribunal hearing involving South Lanarkshire Council recently and the fact that the local Unison branch secretary gave evidence in support of the Council's position.

Well I also gave evidence at that tribunal hearing although what I had to say was firmly in support of the equal pay claimants.

The conclusion of my (second) witness statement was that South Lanarkshire actions were completely contrary to the 1999 Single Status (Equal Pay) Agreement which was firmly aimed at eliminating pay discrimination in Scotland's 32 local councils, as opposed to preserving the much higher pay of traditional male council jobs.

The tribunal finally ruled that the Council's job evaluation scheme was 'unfit for purpose', of course, so it's well seen whose evidence the tribunal members preferred, if you ask me.

But if anyone has a details of other evidence and/or witness statements presented to the Employment Tribunal, I'd be happy to share this information on the blog site.    

MARK IRVINE - WITNESS STATEMENT

I, Mark Irvine, will say as follows:
  1. I refer to my witness statement dated April 2013.  That statement was prepared for the hearing in this matter listed to start on 22 April 2013 which was subsequently abandoned following a concession by South Lanarkshire Council (‘the Council’).  It contains many matters relevant to the hearing listed to start on September 2013 and I rely upon its contents, which I shall not repeat here.  This statement is by way of a supplemental statement, having read the documents disclosed by the Council on 3 May 2013.
General
  1. The documents disclosed are patchy and incomplete.  Some of them are significantly redacted without any obvious explanation.  The 1999 Single Status Agreement was by far the most important industrial relations matter in Scotland in a generation and the paucity of the disclosed documents is astonishing.  For example, one minute from the Community Resources Central JCC is from a single meeting held on 15 December 2003.  There must have been a whole series of regular meetings possibly on a monthly basis.  Similarly, a minute of a Community Resources Land Services meeting on 13 February 2002 refers to numerous management proposals, none of which have been disclosed.
  2. As set out in my earlier statement of April 2013, the job evaluation process for manual workers was governed by collective agreement and, from1 July 1999, by the Red Book.  Whatever steps were taken in relation to the pay of certain job groups, this could not amount to a change to their job ratings or gradings unless the proper agreed process was complied with. 
Specific Documents
  1. In a Report to the Corporate Resources Committee following a meeting on 19 March 2003, there is reference (para. 2.1) to the implementation of Single Status taking place by 1 April 2004.  There is then further reference (para. 3.3.4) to trying to avoid a reduction in contractual earnings.  This was a plain breach of the Red Book Collective Agreement, which was incorporated into individual contracts of employment.   Para. 19 of the Implementation Agreement provides that ‘protection at assimilation on to the new spinal column for all employees including bonus earners will be for three years on a cash conserved basis’.  Therefore what the Council was proposing was contrary to the collective agreement.
  2. I have read all of the documents in Tab 2 of the Respondent’s disclosure.  These include
  1. Minutes of a Community Resources meeting dated 15 December 2003;
  2. Minutes of a Competence Initiative Link/Liaison Officers Meeting dated 24 January 2002; and 
  3. Minutes of various trade union meetings between August 1998 and November 2001. 
  1. It is clear from these minutes that the focus was on male-dominated groups of workers and preservation of existing pay.  At para. 3 of the Minute of 24 January 2002, it is minuted that ‘Tom Wakefield advised most gradings in this area have been done through single status agreements but not through formal grading scheme’.  New ratings or gradings for jobs could only be through the mechanisms set out in the relevant collective agreement and these had not been applied.  
  2. On the second page of the minute dated 28 April 1999, the following is noted:
‘It was recorded that all current employees as of October 1998 had preserved conditions based on their previous contracted earnings, bonus and contractual overtime.  The grade that they were placed upon may not be the grade for the post but they were preserved on a personal basis on their current salary scale’.
This plainly evidences the Council’s process of matching individual salaries, including bonus and overtime, to a salary scale which bore no relation to the actual post or its evaluation under the Green Book.  This is pay-matching and not Job Evaluation.  The rating of a particular job can only be changed I believe by a proper and lawful job evaluation. 
  1. Both the Green Book and the Blue Book Job Evaluation Schemes involve comparative exercises.  The aim is to ensure consistency and fairness and to avoid discrimination.  I can see no evidence in the documents disclosed by the Council for the September hearing that any such exercises were carried out in relation to any of the potential comparator groups which might have displaced the existing evaluations and consequent job ratings.
  2. I have seen a Memorandum of Agreement dated 19 April 2002 headed Fleet Services – Passenger Services Single Status Proposal.  In this document it is stated that ‘an annual salary will be paid inclusive of pay, bonus and contractual overtime (where applicable) based on the APT&C scale…’.  Again this just evidences pay matching.  In order to be properly graded under the Blue Book Job Evaluation Scheme, duties and responsibilities would have to be objectively assessed and jobs would have to be correctly placed within the ‘hierarchy’ or rank order of Blue Book APT&C posts.  I can see nothing in the documents to show that there was any job evaluation process involved in determining the salaries for these Fleet Services employees.  A letter of 17 May 2002 demonstrates a similar lack of process and an allocation of pay scales based purely on historical earnings and nothing else; as does a Personnnel Services Committee document, applying to Refuse Collection and Street Cleansing, dated 20 October 1998 (see in particular paras 3.10 and 3.11).   
  3. In relation to those working in Refuse Collection and Street Cleansing, there is a further document dated 10 August 1998 which refers to a new standard working week of 37 hours.  In other words, employees were to be paid according to their existing earnings including overtime which they would no longer be working.
  4. This same process of assimilating manual workers in male-dominated groups onto the APT&C SCP (equivalent point plus one) also applied to Roads and Transportation Services (see the agreement signed on 13 March 2001).  The provision for new entrants was, in contrast, linked (para. 4) to the ‘job evaluation process currently ongoing’.
  5. In relation to the Land Services Operatives, in a letter dated 26 November 2002, the Council describes these employees as ‘now APT&C and not manual workers’.  That is, in my view, completely wrong and contrary to the provisions of the Red Book (see para. 22 of my statement signed on April 2013).
  6. In other documents relating to the Land Services Operatives (Grounds Maintenance), there is reference to another pay matching exercise with an apparent intended implementation date of 31 March 2002 (minutes of meeting of 13 February 2002).  The bonus levels for all these jobs is 50% (see table).  In a document headed Commercial Operations – Grounds Maintenance Managerial Action, there is reference to introduction of ‘fixed bonus rate’ of 50% for core staff.  In my experience, the term ‘fixed’ bonus is used to describe a bonus scheme which does not fluctuate or vary from day to day or week to week.  Plainly this is not a bonus linked to individual productivity.
Conclusion
  1. Overall, having considered the documents, they appear to demonstrate a practice of moving male-dominated groups of employees who are plainly manual workers onto the APT&C spinal column without any proper job evaluation process and by rolling up their pay, including overtime and bonus.  This is totally contrary to the purpose of the single status agreement which was aimed at eliminating pay discrimination. 

SLC Update (23/09/15)



I'm still reading the witness statement prepared by the local Unison branch secretary, Stephen Smellie, in connection with the long running Employment Tribunal case against South Lanarkshire Council (SLC), which SLC lost of course. 

Since then I've been made aware that Mr Smellie objected strongly to criticism directed at him, as branch secretary, for giving evidence at the tribunal and he tried to explain this away (according to the minutes of the branch council) by saying that he was compelled to attend because the Council served him with a witness order.

Now the crucial point for me is not whether Mr Smellie gave evidence to the tribunal hearing, willingly or otherwise, because I gave evidence myself, albeit in a way which supported the claimants to the hilt, many of whom were union members of course.

So the crucial point is not whether Mr Smellie gave evidence, but what he had to say - did he know, for example, what he was talking about and did he stand up for the interests of union members who were fighting for equal pay?

I'll let you know what I think soon.

SLC Update (23/09/15)


Here's a post from the blog site archive dating back to 2007 which highlights the big differences in pay between traditional male and female jobs.

The key point to note is that these big pay differentials were known to the trade unions all those years ago because the trade unions negotiated and agreed the pay arrangements with South Lanarkshire Council's management.

The original aim of the 1999 Single Status (Equal Pay) Agreement was to increase the pay of thousands of low paid women's jobs which both the employers and the trade unions accepted had been undervalued for years.

But the approach of the unions and management in South Lanarkshire focussed instead on protecting and preserving the higher pay of traditional male jobs which is why so many women workers lost out when new pay scales and grades were finally implemented in April 2004.

Though it's worth pointing out that what happened in South Lanarkshire Council bore no relation to the spirit or intention of the 1999 Single Status Agreement. 


Equal Pay Bombshell for South Lanarkshire (14/11/07)

Great news, South Lanarkshire's cat is finally out of the bag and women workers in that council will now begin to realise the extent of their betrayal over equal pay.

We asked our clients for help to discover the size of the pay gap between traditional male and female jobs.

Remember this is the council that boasted famously: "We don't have an equal pay problem" - South Lanarkshire supposedly sorted things out with a new Single Status pay structure in 2004.

We asked people to confirm what the male jobs actually earn relying on the fact that our clients live and work alongside the men doing these jobs.

And boy, oh boy, have they delivered the goods. Personal details will be withheld for obvious reasons, but the results are utterly astonishing and confirm that the pay gap is much greater than even we imagined.

For example, a Refuse Driver is currently paid £11.02 per hour which is Spinal Column Point (SCP) 44 on the pay ladder according to a pay slip that has been passed to Action 4 Equality.

Even a humble Refuse Collector is paid £9.50 an hour which equates to Spinal Column Point 34.

But a basic grade Home Carer (a predominantly female job, of course) is paid only £6.65 per hour, a lowly Spinal Column Point 10.

So, the difference between the female carer's job and the male refuse worker's job is a whopping £4.37 per or £8,400 a year for a full-time worker!!!

The whole thing stinks to high heaven. No wonder the council and the unions tried to keep this under wraps they should be ashamed of themselves. 

Before South Lanarkshire's Single Status scheme came into play in 2004 a Home Carer was on Manual Worker (MW) Grade 5, i.e. on a higher grade than her two male colleagues with the Refuse Driver on Grade MW 4 and the Refuse Collector on MW 2.

Now the 1999 Single Status Agreement was about tackling the pay gap and being fairer to women workers, but in South Lanarkshire the notion of equal pay has been turned completely on its head.

The geniuses behind 2004 have made a mockery of Single Status. The council has cheated the workforce and the unions have betrayed their own members. We now intend to hold the people responsible to account.

Because in South Lanarkshire some workers are more equal than others.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

North Lanarkshire Update



I came across this post from the blog site archive which I had forgotten all about, but it shines a light on the way in which senior officials in North Lanarkshire Council were treated compared to all the 'foot soldiers' fighting for equal pay.


Three Steps to Heaven (28/03/12)




A kind reader has sent me some information - which explains how big bonuses were handed out to senior officials in North Lanarkshire Council.

Apparently the process involved three simple steps - three steps to (financial) heaven if you like - which went as follows. 

Step 1
The council's chief executive Gavin Whitefield - is interviewed by the Labour leader of the council (Councillor Jim McCabe) plus two other senior councillors and is rewarded with a bonus of £12,050 - or around 9% of his £136,848 annual salary.

Step 2
The council's chief executive - Gavin Whitefield - then interviews the next tier of senior managers whose names are listed below and - surprise, surprise - they all get similar bonus payments, top ups of around 9% - in addition to their already high salaries. 

Iris Wylie
John Ellerby
John O'Hagan
Paul Jukes
Alistair Crichton
Mary Castles
Christine Pollock

Step 3
The second tier of senior managers (whose names are listed above) - goes on to interview the third tier of senior managers (whose names are listed below) - and what do you think happens? Yes, you guessed it - they all achieve similar outcomes to their bosses. 

Maureen McConachie
Stephen Penman
John Flaeming
Campbell Crawford
Margaret Murray
Robert Nisbet
Patrick Kelly
Graham Patrick
Graham MacKay
Crawford Morgan
Kenneth Wilson
Irene McKelvey
Brain Cook
Paul Hughes
Duncan MacKay
Monica Patterson
Ronald Paul
Mary Fegan
Jane Liddell
Elizabeth McMurrich
Murdo McIver

Now I have to say this is a truly remarkable, possibly unique, scheme.

One where 'all shall have prizes' as the saying goes - and they all seem to be achieving close to maximum performance, would you believe.

I don't know what qualifications the Labour leader of the council, Jim McCabe, has to carry out such an assessment by the way, but the results are amazingly consistent all the way down the line.

I suppose you could call this the 'trickle down' theory of performance related pay, except that it appears to apply only to the council's most senior managers, which is rather strange.

I would dearly love to see the objective criteria against which all these senior managers were awarded their big bonuses, so if anyone has the information, please pass it on.

If not maybe someone fancies submitting an FOI request to North Lanarkshire's chief executive, Gavin Whitefield.