Poverty and Inequality

18.01.19

Deal struck in historic 12-year equal pay dispute with Glasgow City Council

An agreement has been reached over the long-running and bitter dispute over equal pay at Glasgow City Council, which will see thousands of female council workers receive pay-outs worth an estimated £500m.

Unions and legal representatives have reached a deal in principle with the council on a package of payments, settling the 14,000 equal-pay claims.

Glasgow City Council confirmed that a deal had been agreed and that payments were due to start from April this year.

The council’s leader Susan Aitken stated: “Almost exactly a year since the city government led on the hugely significant step of abandoning many years of litigation on equal pay, I am delighted that the council and claimants’ representatives have agreed an offer which I will recommend to committee for their approval in the coming weeks.”

GMB Scotland’s Hazel Nolan called it a “significant moment” in the recognition of the value of women in the city which had been brought about by the women’s efforts after “decades of systematic gender discrimination.”

Last October, more than 8,000 council workers staged one of the UK’s biggest strikes in a 48-hour protest over the “lack of progress” around the equal-pay claims.

The claims originate from a pay and conditions scheme introduced by the then-Labour council more than a decade ago, which led to workers in female-dominated roles receiving up to £3 less an hour than those in male-dominated areas.

The now-SNP city council announced in January 2018 that it planned to reach a negotiated settlement to the thousands of claims and called the mass walk-out unnecessary, but did warn that it would take around a year to agree a fair offer.

The equal-pay battle has received wide-spread support, and the European public service union said it fully supported the strike action which had followed a landmark victory in court in favour of the campaigners.

Aitken thanked every one of the council officers involved in the “extremely challenging process” and stated that she never needed to be persuaded of the case for equality after “a decade of obstruction and inaction.”

However, the pay-out process is not yet completed. Approval is still needed from members of the city council and the claimants, and the funds also need to be raised to meet the estimated £500m.

Image credit - Andrew MilliganPA WirePA Images

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