Sunday, 25 June 2017

Glasgow Equal Pay News



The GMB in Glasgow is proving to be a bit of a nuisance because the union keeps sending unsolicited letters to A4ES clients - even when they are no longer members of the GMB!

Here's what one person had to say recently to Karl in the A4ES office: 

Thanks very much for the call back today.


When I contacted GMB they claimed the union was also representing me, but this is definitely not the case as you confirmed to me today that Action 4 Equality Scotland and Stefan Cross have been pursuing my equal pay claim for the past 12 years.

GMB are now requesting I write to them and ask that they no longer are expected to represent me. This doesn't seem right considering I'm being represented by yourself?

Bottom line is I want to ensure it's yourselves representing me and would appreciate if you could reply to this email to settle my mind.

Best Regards


M

Now as I said in a previous post (see below), the best thing A4ES client can do with any unsolicited letters from the GMB is to ignore them - chuck them in the bin if you like!

Action 4 Equality Scotland will deal with this on your behalf and there is no need for A4ES clients to explain anything to the GMB.

So just sit tight and keep you eye on the blog site for the latest news on the blog site for all the latest news on the fight for equal pay in Glasgow City Council.

  


Glasgow Equal Pay News (08/06/17)


A number of readers from Glasgow have been in touch (existing clients of A4ES) after receiving more unsolicited correspondence via the GMB union.

What people want to know is: "Do I have to respond to these letters or contact the GMB, now that my equal pay claim is being handled by Action 4 Equality Scotland?"

Well the short answer is that No - you don't need to do anything, you can safely ignore any such letters because the A4ES office will sort this out on your behalf.

Action 4 Equality Scotland may write to you separately, but there is no need for individuals to take any action.


Now quite why the GMB is behaving in this way I can't explain, but the union does behave very strangely at times.

For example, the GMB made a terrible dog's dinner of its members' equal pay claims over in North Lanarkshire Council by restricting their claims to only 3 years.

History now seems to be repeating itself in Glasgow where the union has done the same thing and did not support Action 4 Equality Scotland and other claimant organisations in the recent Court of Session challenge to Glasgow's WPBR and job evaluation (JE) scheme.

I've heard the GMB is now telling members who haven't already pursued an equal pay claim that the union will 'see them alright' in future negotiations with Glasgow City Council.

Which sound like complete nonsense if you ask me, and I'll bet the union hasn't given such a guarantee in wriitng. 


Because the only way council employees in Glasgow can protect their interests properly is to register an equal pay claim now with the Employment Tribunals, if they have not already done so.


  


Glasgow and Equal Pay (24/05/17)


Seems that word is spreading quickly over the GMB's strange decision to restrict its members equal pay claims in Glasgow to a 3-year protection period only.

As regular readers know, the GMB union did not support the A4ES-led appeal in the Court of Session which challenged the City Council's WPBR pay arrangements.

Hi Mark,

I was just wondering if A4ES would take me on as the GMB are not helping me.
and not keeping me updated.

Kind regards



L


    


Glasgow and Equal Pay


The enquiries from readers in Glasgow keep arriving on a daily basis - here's another from a Home Carer who would like to transfer her equal pay claim to A4ES.

Hi Mark

I was reading your blog. I am a Homecarer for Cordia and received a letter today from GMB about equal pay. 

Is there a way of changing it to Action 4 Equality Scotland as GMB as you say have let us down in the past. 

Many Thanks 


W

    

Glasgow Equal Pay Claims (18/05/17)


I've had a big response to my post the other day about equal pay claims in Glasgow City Council and here's what one reader had to say.

Hi Mark

On reading your post about the equal pay for home carers I would very much like for you to take on my case. 

I never got the chance to "go with the lawyer" like many of the other ladies, and was left stuck with the GMB who I thought were fighting on my behalf. I have been very disappointed with the GMB and didn't realise that I had any other choice but to stick with them until my friend shared your post.

I'm not sure what details that you need to assess my case but will gladly provide those that you need.

Regards


K


I've also heard that some readers (existing clients of A4ES) have received unsolicited letters from the GMB which is very odd given that the GMB did not support the A4ES legal challenge to the Workforce Pay and Benefits Review (WPBR) at the recent Court of Session hearing in Edinburgh.

So my advice to readers who receive unsolicited letters is just to ignore them.

    

Glasgow Equal Pay Claims (17/05/17)


A number of readers in Glasgow have been in touch to ask if they can transfer their ongoing equal pay claims from the GMB union to Action 4 Equality Scotland (A4ES).

Now the answer to that is a qualified 'Yes' - qualified because the GMB has a track record in making a terrible mess of their members equal pay claims.

As they did in North Lanarkshire, for example, where GMB members had their claims restricted to only 3 years unlike all the other claimant organisations.

In Glasgow, my understanding is that the GMB is not part of the recent second appeal in the Court of Session which is challenging the City Council's WPBR pay arrangements.

So it could be that the GMB's behaviour in North Lanarkshire is being repeated in Glasgow.

But before accepting any new claims from unhappy GMB members, the A4ES legal team would need to assess the cases on an individual basis to ensure that they can be taken forward and have not been compromised in some way.

If any GMB members would like to pursue the matter, drop me a note (in confidence of course) to: markirvine@compuserve.com 


    

North Lanarkshire Update (21/01/17)


I don't blow my own trumpet too often, but I think it's fair to say that I have played a crucial role in 'persuading' the GMB union to take a more critical and active interest in the equal pay claims of its members in North Lanarkshire Council.

Regular readers will recall that for some reason the GMB decided to restrict the claims of its members in NLC to only three years, instead of following Action 4 Equality Scotland's lead and challenging the council's job evaluation scheme (JES). 

But after I highlighted the issue on my blog site the GMB was spurred into action which resulted in the union's general secretary, Sir Paul Kenny, removing the GMB regional secretary in Scotland (Harry Donaldson) and replacing him with a chap called Gary Smith, in an effort to clear up the mess.

Now I don't know and have never met Gary Smith although to be fair he has acted decisively by effectively 'sacking' the GMB's lawyers (Digby Brown) and 'heavying-up' on Labour-run North Lanarkshire Council.

Apparently, the GMB is pursuing a formal complaint against Digby Brown and here is a previous post from the blog site which explains the background in more detail.


NLC Update (15/10/15)


A kind reader has passed on to me details of a letter from the GMB to union members in North Lanarkshire - the following two paragraphs caught my attention immediately:

"I (Gary Smith) have launched a full investigation into the North Lanarkshire case and a complete assessment of the legal strategy pursued by Digby Brown in relation to our equal pay cases in all of Scotland. If claims need to be amended, they will be, and if we have received the wrong advice we will take action to protect our members' position.

"In the meantime, if you are a GMB member and you have a case with Digby Brown, we will be happy to transfer it to a different firm if you are unhappy with the current placement. Please contact our GMB law firm - UnionLine - at pi@unionline.co.uk or call them on 0300 333 0303, If you would like us to relocate your case. UnionLine is a legal firm owned by the union and operates on a not for profit basis."

Now it seems obvious to me that the GMB must have lost confidence in Digby Brown, but in the recent members' meetings I've attended the GMB explained that a national policy decision was responsible for restricting its members claims to only 3-years.

But now the GMB appears to be blaming Digby Brown although I fail to understand how members can be invited to transfer their equal pay claims elsewhere (to another law firm), without being told, first of all, what has gone wrong in relation to their claims Digby Brown.

So the following questions need an urgent answer, if you ask me:

1 Will the results of the GMB's investigation be shared with union members in North Lanarkshire?

2 Does the GMB now accept that its legal advice was wrong?

3 Will the GMB be sharing this legal advice with the members affected?

4 Will the GMB confirm that settlement proposals were put directly to North Lanarkshire Council by, or on behalf of, the GMB trade union? 

The sooner we have an independents complaints procedure for trade unions in the UK the better - because this is a perfect example of the difficulty that ordinary union members often have in holding big union bureaucracies to account.


North Lanarkshire Update (15/01/17)


Here are some kind words from another satisfied A4ES client in North Lanarkshire Council.

"Just a wee note to say my payment came into my account today thank you all so much again for all your hard work and patience, you all deserve a medal  D"

Now a medal would be nice, not least because I have not received one in a long time since my football paying teenage years in fact, which I still have somewhere by the way. 

But I'm just glad to have been of service and to have made such a difference to so many people's lives during the long fight for equal pay in Scotland's councils.

  


The Fight for Equal Pay (06/01/17)


I've been inspired by a recent Twitter conversation to dig into the blog site archive and revisit the key landmarks in the fight for equal pay in Scotland's local councils.
  1. The background to Equal Pay lies in the early 1990s when the big public sector trade unions (GMB, NUPE and TGWU) set out to negotiate a set of common conditions of service for all UK local government workers - with a new 'Single Status' Agreement.
  2. The goal of the trade unions was shared, in principle, by the UK employers and this was to end the widespread pay discrimination against low paid, predominantly female, council employees - in caring, cleaning, catering and school support jobs. 
  3. The unions warned the employers that if negotiations failed to deliver equal pay, then they would seek to achieve their aims via the courts, since it was obvious to everyone that the employers could not justify a Home Carer being paid the equivalent of only £6.00 an hour while a Refuse Collector was earning £9.00 per hour.
  4. At the time Mark Irvine was the Head of Local Government for Unison in Scotland and a key figure in the UK and Scottish negotiations which led to a UK wide agreement in 1997 that, subsequently, became the Single Status (Equal Pay) Agreement in Scotland in 1999.
  5. Stefan Cross (now a QC) was then a leading employment lawyer with Thompsons Solicitors and fought his first major equal pay case as far back as 1995 before setting up a practice of his own, initially based in Newcastle.
  6. The trade unions and employers were both alarmed at this development, as they had completely failed to implement the landmark UK and Scottish Single Status agreements, despite all their fine words about tackling discrimination and delivering equal pay for work of equal value.  
  7. Stefan Cross and Mark Irvine met in Newcastle in March 2005 to discuss reviving the fight for equal pay north of the border. In August 2005 Action 4 Equality Scotland was launched in a fanfare of publicity, courtesy of a major BBC Scotland news programme (see post below dated 28 May 2016 along with the original BBC web site report from 2005).
  8. All of the Scottish papers followed the story up and after years in the doldrums Equal Pay was front page news once again: Stefan Cross and Stefan Cross Solicitors provided the legal expertise and representation in the Employment Tribunals; Mark Irvine and A4ES became the campaign vehicle to get a message across to potential claimants and the wider public.
  9. Glasgow was the first council to be targeted (as the largest in Scotland) and after a few months of posturing and insisting that the City had no equal pay problem, the Council sounded a hasty retreat. By Christmas Glasgow was offering derisory sums of cash to 'buy out' people's claims.
  10. Lots of workers succumbed to the temptation, given the Council's 'bullying' tactics and the time of year. The workforce also lacked support from their own Labour-supporting trade unions who had failed to tackle the issue for years, even though all the big councils were Labour controlled, as was COSLA, of course, the self-styled voice of Scottish local government.
  11. Glasgow reached an 'interim' settlement of claims with A4ES up to 31 March 2006, but not for the period from 1 April 2006 onwards when the Council introduced new local pay arrangements and a new job evaluation scheme (JES).
  12. The hard work of extending the equal pay campaign across Scotland had begun and within two years A4ES was leading the charge in many other councils as well including  Edinburgh, Fife, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, Falkirk, North Ayrshire and so on.
  13. I began writing my blog in January 2007 and restricted myself, initially, to news and reports about the ongoing campaign, but over the years the blog 'grew like 'Topsy' and evolved into something that I enjoy writing for many other reasons as well.
  14. Towards the end of 2008 Carol Fox joined Stefan Cross Solicitors (see post below dated 15 October 2008) and assumed responsibility for the day-to-day legal cases in Scotland. 
  15. Carol played a key role in the ongoing work in the Employment Tribunals, for example in the successful case against South Lanarkshire Council (SLC). A talented and very feisty woman barrister named Sandhya Drew presented the A4ES case and the long-running tribunal eventually found in the claimants favour.
  16. Meanwhile the Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) got involved after Labour-run South Lanarkshire refused an freedom of information (FoI) request from Mark Irvine. SLC appealed a SIC ruling (in Mark Irvine's favour) requiring the Council to publish information relating to the pay differences between traditional male and female jobs.
  17. After losing its appeal case to a unanimous judgement at the UK Supreme Court in London, SLC 'sued for peace' and settlements quickly followed for or over 3,000 A4ES clients. The local unions in South Lanarkshire looked ridiculous, by the way, having previously discouraged their members from pursuing equal pay claims against the local Labour-run Council.
  18. Another person that must be mentioned in dispatches, of course, is the indomitable Daphne Romney QC who drove a veritable 'coach and horses' through the pay arrangements that North Lanarkshire Council had introduced in 2007, with the Labour supporting union again playing a very negative role. 
  19. Again thousands of low paid, predominantly women workers, were properly compensated after years of unequal pay and having the wool pulled over their eyes by their employers and trade unions. 
  20. Carol Fox decided to step back from the fray in the summer of 2015, for personal and family reasons, and since then A4ES has worked with another firm of solicitors HBJ Gateley to provide clients with first class legal support (see post below dated 6 September 2015).
  21. Ironically, after all this time has passed things have come full circle again as the equal pay campaign focuses on Labour-run Glasgow, as the only major council in Scotland not to have reached a settlement with A4ES over its post-job evaluation pay arrangements. 
But A4ES, Stefan Cross and Mark Irvine have all been involved from the start - over 20 years ago - and we are determined to see this fight through to the end. 

Debugging for Dummies



Here's a great letter from the 'Letters of Note' web site which tells the unlikely tale of how the phrase 'debugging the computer' acquired its name.

  

@LettersOfNote - Twitter

https://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/historydisplays/FifthFloor/LogicAndSwitching/HarvardMark1/HarvardMark1Pictures.php

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Glasgow Equal Pay News



Here are some of the Readers' Comments I received in response to the news that Glasgow's lowest paid council workers had their equal pay compensation payments capped back in 2005 .

Yet this 'watching the public purse' policy didn't stop one of the council's most senior officials (Ian Drummond) walking away with six and two thirds added years (the maximum) and a healthy £250,000 boost on top of  his already impressive package of pension benefits. 

Needless to say, none of the readers of my blog site were impressed at this terrible double standard on the part of Glasgow City Council.

The local trade unions agreed to this awful 'cap' back in 2005 and then had the cheek to demand that the higher earnings of traditional male (former bonus earning) jobs were maintained going forward - beyond the normal three year protection period.

The effect of which was to restore the pay differentials between male and female jobs that the 1999 Single Status (Equal Pay) Agreement had promised to sweep away.


I'd love to be around 100 years from now to see how the historians write up this bloody debaucle! Of unions will absolutely be outlawed and if there are any of them still alive theyl be in gaol! Mark ul have been knighted for unswerving devotion to fighting for the lowest paid public service workers in Scotland. And ppl will be saying how the hell did they let the councils and collective unions get away with what they did "wouldn't happen nowadays"!

L


Pay the rich more . While us low paid harder working people get less .. shameful disgusted .... how can they hold there heads up ..

M


Well done mark for getting this info and letting us see it 😡😡Same old story rich get richer and we all know the rest ,Keep up the good work

A



Shocking give all the low key workers what there due x

W



I've been with the council for 32 years I bet I wouldn't get added years

T


Wonder what bonus ill get when I retire.
Big boot right oot the door.
Absolutely shocking and disgusted!!!!


L



  



Glasgow's Low Paid Workers Get 'Capped' - Council Boss Cops £250,000 Pay 'Bonus' (15/06/17)



Glasgow City Council have suddenly backtracked on the previous decision to refuse my FoI request regarding the payment of 'added years' to boost a senior official's leaving package. 

After registering an appeal with the Scottish Information Commissioner, the City Council wrote to me in the following terms:  

Mr Irvine,

I refer to your recent Freedom of Information request to the Council regarding Mr Drummond’s leaving package. We have received correspondence from the Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner advising us that you have requested a decision from them on this matter.

Your request for review stated that you were looking for “a review of the City Council's refusal to answer Part 3 of my original FOI request in which I asked whether Mr Drummond's remuneration package included any discretionary benefits such as 'added years' in respect of the Local Government Pension Scheme”. We advised you in our letter of 7th April 2017 that we considered the information that you were looking for constituted personal data and as such, was exempt in terms of s38(1)(b) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. For the reasons set out in the Council’s review decision letter, we did not consider that you had a legitimate interest in obtaining the data.

Although Mr Drummond no longer works for the Council, we have been able to contact him to ask whether he would prepared to give consent to the release of the information you have requested. The Council recognises that personal data may be released if consent is provided by the data subject to do so. Mr Drummond has now consented to release of the information requested to you. 


Accordingly, please note that Ian Drummond received added years to his pension. Due to his age and length of service, this was on the basis of 6 and 2/3rds “added years” to his pension, in line with the Committee Report calculation (attached). 

This calculation was applied to all staff who left at this time. The Annual accounts previously sent to you show that Mr Drummond received £109,000 “compensation for loss of office”. This figure comprises a £33,000 enhanced lump sum from the added years plus £76,000 redundancy payment. 

There is an £11,000 per annum addition to Mr Drummond’s pension arising from the added years calculation. No payments for loss of office were made to Mr Drummond beyond the standard formula set out in the policy, i.e. maximum 6 2/3 added years (applied to the calculation of both the lump sum and the annual pension) plus maximum 30 weeks’ pay as a redundancy lump sum as Mr Drummond was aged over 50 and had access to his pension.  

Please note that election payments (made to Mr Drummond as a result of the then chief executive being on long term sickness absence following a heart attack) are not pensionable and did not give rise to any additional payment of either pension, lump sum, or redundancy payment.

I trust this answers the query posed in your request for review.

Regards,


FOI Review Team

So the upshot is that Mr Drummond did receive a big boost to his pension plan - in the shape of an extra £33,000 by way of a lump sum plus another £11,000 a year on top of his annual pension payment.

Now this is an extra, 'discretionary' payment remember - and it should be compared to the way low paid council employees are treated, often after a lifetime's work in Glasgow's essential front-line services.

In fact, if you make the not reasonable assumption that Mr Drummond will draw his pension for another 20 years, the extra boost to his pension is worth at least £253,000 - i.e. 20 years x £11,000 (£220,000) + £33,000 = £253,000.

But what really gets my goat is that this Labour-run council placed a 'cap' or ceiling on the equal pay settlements of the Council's lowest paid workers back in 2005 - the most anyone received was just £9,000 which meant thousands of people were 'duped' into accepting much less than their claims were really worth.

As regular readers know, the local trade unions were involved in negotiating this unfair cap on people's settlements, yet they now try to claim credit for fighting the 'good fight' over equal pay. 

Shameless to the end, the unions then made light of of their terrible track record and tried to tempt A4ES clients to go back to them once the Court of Session ruled that Glasgow's equal pay claimants had been unfairly treated and badly let down. 

Give me a break, please! 

Because the reality is that Glasgow City Council and the local trade unions worked together to ensure that '1st Wave' equal pay settlements were much lower than the real value of people's claims in the run-up to Christmas 2005.

In 2006 they also agreed to give special treatment to all of the 'red circled', former bonus earning, traditional male jobs when the Workforce Pay and Benefits Review was introduced - without first of all bringing women's pay into line with the men, a hugely significant point that was highlighted in the recent judgment from the Court of Session.

So if you ask me, the Labour Council bosses and the spineless Labour trade unions should all be thoroughly ashamed of their behaviour.


   



Glasgow and Equal Pay (26/05/17)


The Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) invited me to make a further submission in respect of my appeal against Glasgow City Council's refusal to explain whether one of its senior officials had his leaving package boosted with 'added years'.

Here's what I had to say along with a previous post explaining the background to my original FoI request.

Dear SIC

Thank you for your letter dated 10 May 2017.

In my view Glasgow City Council does not have a valid reason for refusing my request, not least because much of this information has already been released with the disclosure that Mr Drummond received a remuneration package worth £462,555 in the year ended 31 March 2011.

According to the Council the figure of £462,555 comprised of £211,000 in accrued pension benefits plus £251,555 in Salary Fees and Allowances, Compensation for Loss of Office and Election Duties.

My FoI request in respect of 'added years' does not affect the figures already released into the public domain and the issue comes down to whether or not the Council used its powers to provide Mr Drummond's leaving package with a further financial boost using public funds.      

I believe I have a legitimate interest in the City Council's use of public money as a taxpayer, especially when government at all levels (both local and national) have been operating on tight budgets.

In 2005 Glasgow City Council 'capped' equal pay settlement offers to thousands of low paid women workers at a maximum of £9,000 even though their employees claims were worth considerably more than £9,000. Mr Drummond was the City Council's chief legal officer at that time.

In my view the public has a right to know whether or not the City Council was especially generous to one of its senior officials and if so, the reasons for someone at the top of the organisation receiving more favourable treatment than the 'foot-soldiers' at the bottom of the pay ladder. 

I cannot see how the release of this information can be detrimental to Mr Drummond in any way since the decision to award 'added years' or not lay with the City Council - not Mr Drummond himself.

For these reasons and those detailed in my original submission I would ask the Scottish Information Commissioner to uphold my appeal.  

Kind regards



Mark Irvine


    

Glasgow's Low Paid Workers Get 'Capped' - Council Boss Cops £250,000 Pay 'Bonus'



Glasgow City Council have suddenly backtracked on the previous decision to refuse my FoI request regarding the payment of 'added years' to boost a senior official's leaving package. 

After registering an appeal with the Scottish Information Commissioner, the City Council wrote to me in the following terms:  

Mr Irvine,

I refer to your recent Freedom of Information request to the Council regarding Mr Drummond’s leaving package. We have received correspondence from the Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner advising us that you have requested a decision from them on this matter.

Your request for review stated that you were looking for “a review of the City Council's refusal to answer Part 3 of my original FOI request in which I asked whether Mr Drummond's remuneration package included any discretionary benefits such as 'added years' in respect of the Local Government Pension Scheme”. We advised you in our letter of 7th April 2017 that we considered the information that you were looking for constituted personal data and as such, was exempt in terms of s38(1)(b) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. For the reasons set out in the Council’s review decision letter, we did not consider that you had a legitimate interest in obtaining the data.

Although Mr Drummond no longer works for the Council, we have been able to contact him to ask whether he would prepared to give consent to the release of the information you have requested. The Council recognises that personal data may be released if consent is provided by the data subject to do so. Mr Drummond has now consented to release of the information requested to you. 


Accordingly, please note that Ian Drummond received added years to his pension. Due to his age and length of service, this was on the basis of 6 and 2/3rds “added years” to his pension, in line with the Committee Report calculation (attached). 

This calculation was applied to all staff who left at this time. The Annual accounts previously sent to you show that Mr Drummond received £109,000 “compensation for loss of office”. This figure comprises a £33,000 enhanced lump sum from the added years plus £76,000 redundancy payment. 

There is an £11,000 per annum addition to Mr Drummond’s pension arising from the added years calculation. No payments for loss of office were made to Mr Drummond beyond the standard formula set out in the policy, i.e. maximum 6 2/3 added years (applied to the calculation of both the lump sum and the annual pension) plus maximum 30 weeks’ pay as a redundancy lump sum as Mr Drummond was aged over 50 and had access to his pension.  

Please note that election payments (made to Mr Drummond as a result of the then chief executive being on long term sickness absence following a heart attack) are not pensionable and did not give rise to any additional payment of either pension, lump sum, or redundancy payment.

I trust this answers the query posed in your request for review.

Regards,


FOI Review Team

So the upshot is that Mr Drummond did receive a big boost to his pension plan - in the shape of an extra £33,000 by way of a lump sum plus another £11,000 a year on top of his annual pension payment.

Now this is an extra, 'discretionary' payment remember - and it should be compared to the way low paid council employees are treated, often after a lifetime's work in Glasgow's essential front-line services.

In fact, if you make the not reasonable assumption that Mr Drummond will draw his pension for another 20 years, the extra boost to his pension is worth at least £253,000 - i.e. 20 years x £11,000 (£220,000) + £33,000 = £253,000.

But what really gets my goat is that this Labour-run council placed a 'cap' or ceiling on the equal pay settlements of the Council's lowest paid workers back in 2005 - the most anyone received was just £9,000 which meant thousands of people were 'duped' into accepting much less than their claims were really worth.

As regular readers know, the local trade unions were involved in negotiating this unfair cap on people's settlements, yet they now try to claim credit for fighting the 'good fight' over equal pay. 

Shameless to the end, the unions then made light of of their terrible track record and tried to tempt A4ES clients to go back to them once the Court of Session ruled that Glasgow's equal pay claimants had been unfairly treated and badly let down. 

Give me a break, please! 

Because the reality is that Glasgow City Council and the local trade unions worked together to ensure that '1st Wave' equal pay settlements were much lower than the real value of people's claims in the run-up to Christmas 2005.

In 2006 they also agreed to give special treatment to all of the 'red circled', former bonus earning, traditional male jobs when the Workforce Pay and Benefits Review was introduced - without first of all bringing women's pay into line with the men, a hugely significant point that was highlighted in the recent judgment from the Court of Session.

So if you ask me, the Labour Council bosses and the spineless Labour trade unions should all be thoroughly ashamed of their behaviour.

   

Glasgow and Equal Pay (26/05/17)


The Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) invited me to make a further submission in respect of my appeal against Glasgow City Council's refusal to explain whether one of its senior officials had his leaving package boosted with 'added years'.

Here's what I had to say along with a previous post explaining the background to my original FoI request.

Dear SIC

Thank you for your letter dated 10 May 2017.

In my view Glasgow City Council does not have a valid reason for refusing my request, not least because much of this information has already been released with the disclosure that Mr Drummond received a remuneration package worth £462,555 in the year ended 31 March 2011.

According to the Council the figure of £462,555 comprised of £211,000 in accrued pension benefits plus £251,555 in Salary Fees and Allowances, Compensation for Loss of Office and Election Duties.

My FoI request in respect of 'added years' does not affect the figures already released into the public domain and the issue comes down to whether or not the Council used its powers to provide Mr Drummond's leaving package with a further financial boost using public funds.      

I believe I have a legitimate interest in the City Council's use of public money as a taxpayer, especially when government at all levels (both local and national) have been operating on tight budgets.

In 2005 Glasgow City Council 'capped' equal pay settlement offers to thousands of low paid women workers at a maximum of £9,000 even though their employees claims were worth considerably more than £9,000. Mr Drummond was the City Council's chief legal officer at that time.

In my view the public has a right to know whether or not the City Council was especially generous to one of its senior officials and if so, the reasons for someone at the top of the organisation receiving more favourable treatment than the 'foot-soldiers' at the bottom of the pay ladder. 

I cannot see how the release of this information can be detrimental to Mr Drummond in any way since the decision to award 'added years' or not lay with the City Council - not Mr Drummond himself.

For these reasons and those detailed in my original submission I would ask the Scottish Information Commissioner to uphold my appeal.  

Kind regards



Mark Irvine