Equal pay settlements offered to thousands of Glasgow City Council workers

Payments of up to £100,000 are being offered to council workers in a long-running equal pay row.

Settlement letters are being sent to thousands of current and former Glasgow City Council workers after the local authority agreed to pay out at least £500 million earlier this year, more than a decade on from the dispute arising.

Around 16,000 workers, mostly women, brought claims against the council following a Court of Session ruling in 2017 that female employees had been discriminated against.

The council adopted the Workforce Pay and Benefit Review, implementing its job evaluation-based pay and grading system in 2006, with the aim of ensuring men and women received equal pay for jobs of the same value.

But some women claim they were paid £3 an hour less than men in similarly graded roles.

The claimant group, including unions GMB, Unison, Unite as well as Action 4 Equality, reached a deal with the council months after around 8,000 Glasgow council workers walked out on strike for 48 hours in October in a bid to settle the pay claim.

Strike over equal pay
Strike over equal pay

Now, payment offers are arriving, with the GMB union saying settlements average out to around £22,000 while some are up to £100,000.

GMB branch secretary Shona Thomson, a home carer for the council, said: “It actually feels quite surreal.

“It’s finally here and we’ve got our letter and know our amounts.

“I’m just so happy for all my colleagues and all of us that have been underpaid for all these years.

“It’s not a bonus that we’ve got – it is our money that we’ve earned.”

She plans to go on a holiday and get a new car but said she hoped people would not make rash decisions.

Cleaning supervisor Lyn Marie O’Hara said she feels a sense of “justice delivered”.

She said: “It delivers equality and a recognition of the fact the we have been disadvantaged in our working lives.”

The Unison steward added: “163 people have died waiting on their equal pay.”

Equal Pay Glasgow UPDATE. UNISON legal team aim to start posting offers from the Council on Thursday May 23rd. Further information: https://t.co/OGplgnHJcq

— UNISON Scotland (@unisonscot) May 17, 2019

GMB Scotland organiser Rhea Wolfson said: “Today is incredibly important in that it is a culmination of 12 years of fighting for pay equality in Glasgow.

“It comes as a direct consequence of the strike in October where workers organised themselves and fought back against the council.

“It’s not the end of the journey as members still go to work and are underpaid at the moment, and that won’t change until the new job evaluation scheme is put in place.”

She added: “The level of some of the payments shows how much was taken from some of these women.

“It’s not a lottery win – it’s what these women should have been paid and for the council to have deprived so many women of this money is jaw-dropping.

“Sadly, for too many women it has come too late.”