Sandra White is the latest MSP to get in touch over the ongoing equal pay dispute with Glasgow City Council - having raised the issue recently via a question in the Scottish Parliament.
Glasgow City Council and Equal Pay
I asked the following question in the Scottish Parliament the other day which represents my support and views on the matter.
Equal Pay (Local Authorities)
To ask the Scottish Government what measures are in place to ensure that there is equal pay for local authority staff across Scotland. (S5O-00794)
The Equality Act 2010 requires that women should be paid the same as men for doing the same or equivalent work. Local authorities, as employers, are responsible for ensuring that they comply with the 2010 act, and we expect all Scottish local authorities to comply with their legal obligations.
I urge councils that still have to settle outstanding equal pay cases to do so quickly, so that people are not waiting even longer following their loss of income.
Sandra White: The minister will know that the dispute on equal pay with 5,000 employees of Glasgow City Council has moved to the Court of Session on appeal, after the Employment Appeal Tribunal found in favour of the claimants. Does she agree that the council must stand by its promise to reach agreement over post-job evaluation pay arrangements and deliver pay equality for all those people?
Angela Constance: I am sure that the member understands that it would be inappropriate for me to comment on individual cases or an on-going legal matter.
Let me say very plainly that equal pay is not a matter of choice. It is a legal requirement for all employers, including local authorities. The Government and I have been consistently robust and public in our criticism of local authorities that are taking excessive time to settle equal pay claims. Some cases go back more than a decade, and the excessive delays are entirely unacceptable. We are right to expect local authorities and all public authorities to lead by example on something as fundamental as equal pay. I reiterate that local authorities must settle their claims and that they must do so soon.
If you require anything further please let me know.
MSP for Glasgow Kelvin
Glasgow and Equal Pay (15/04/17)
The SNP group has indeed made a manifesto commitment about equal pay which I'll post on the blog in the next day or two.
In the meantime here is what Ivan McKee and Patrick Grady had to say.
Thank you for your email.
Like Councillor Susan Aitken I too find the handling of the equal pay issue by the current City council to be disgraceful.
I welcome the commitment by the SNP group on the Council to bring this issue to a speedy and satisfactory resolution after 4th May.
MSP for Glasgow Provan
I fully support the statement by Susan Aitken and the SNP Council Group’s pledge to work with trade unions, and others representing women who were victims of discriminatory pay policies, with the aim of resolving and settling all outstanding equal pay claims within the coming Council term.
MP for Glasgow North
Glasgow and Equal Pay (13/04/17)
My own local MSP John Mason was first 'out of the starting blocks' in responding to my recent email about the fight for equal pay with Labour-run Glasgow City Council.
Here is what John had to say:
When I was a councillor in Glasgow (up to 2008) the Equal Pay dispute was on the agenda and it is incredibly disappointing that it has still not been settled.
I sit on the Scottish Parliament’s Economy Committee and we are currently conducting an inquiry into the Gender Pay Gap. It is clear that it is not just that a man and a woman doing the same job must be paid the same wage, but that women must have equal opportunities for promotion and not be disadvantaged for taking career breaks. Also sectors which are dominated by women should not be paid less than sectors dominated by men.
Obviously certain questions arise if extra money has to be found to pay the women who have lost out. Will Glasgow have to find matching savings by cutting other services? However it is to be done, I would urge a settlement of this dispute and that all Council staff be treated equally.
MSP for Glasgow Shettleston
Now the Scottish Government has previously allowed local councils to additional 'borrowing consents' to meet their equal pay obligations although, as far as I know, no Labour-controlled councils have ever taken this offer up, certainly not the big players in Glasgow and Lanarkshire.
Presumably because they would have to 'open the books' and explain what their spending priorities have been all these years which I imagine they wouldn't take too kindly to with an SNP Government in charge at Holyrood.
In ant event, John Mason has got things off to a good start - let's hope more MSPs and MPs follow suit in the days ahead.