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03/02/2019 - Unions claim victory in Glasgow equal pay fight

equalpayTrade unions are claiming victory in the equal pay fight negotiations at Glasgow City Council.

The issue dated back to 2006 when a Labour administration introduced a new job evaluation system which created a discriminatory pay scheme that saw women council workers paid less than men and excluded from bonus schemes which male workers had access to..

The GMB and Unison unions, alongside legal team Action4Equality announced recently that a deal with the now Scottish National Party (SNP) led council had been agreed.

The deal will help workers in education, social work, administration, cultural services and care services. Full details have yet to be announced, but Mike Kirby, Unison Scottish Secretary said the agreement “finalises the principles and structure of any payout”.

Both sides have agreed a rough formula for how individuals claim will be settled. But the payout will be different for each worker depending on length of time worked, unsocial hours pay, and a host of other factors. Some 13,000 claims remain unresolved, and is likely to cost at last £500 million.

Shamefully Glasgow City Council’s previous Labour administration dragged its heels over resolving the dispute for over a decade.

The SNP council aims to pay the bill by borrowing money and mortgaging some of its buildings.

But leader Susan Aitken said servicing these debts would cost the council tens of millions of pounds each year.

Worryingly she said it would "seek to avoid cuts to frontline services as much as we possibly can".

Pat Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity, said: "What amazes me most is that Labour, once aware of the problem, made no provision for future settlement. It's right that these women will finally be paid what they are due but sad that it has taken this long, strike action and a change of Party control at the Council to get to this point. It's also sad that the people of Glasgow may face cuts in services in order to partly pay the bill."

This victory may give hope to the 600+ care workers - most of whom are women - considering industrial action this week after their pay was cut by up to £40 per night and childcare workers across the country, nearly half of whom have seen their wages fall so low they are forced to rely on state benefits and even foodbanks.