Glasgow Council boss expects equal pay claim to be settled by year end Glasgow Council boss expects equal pay claim to be settled by year end

Glasgow Council boss expects equal pay claim to be settled by year end
29 Aug 2018

Although the leader of Glasgow City Council expects years of legal wrangling over equal pay to finally be settled by the end of the year, she still does not know how much it will cost to close a deal.

Susan Aitken attested that estimates of between £500 million and £1 billion had been “plucked out of thin air”, but that negotiations were ongoing and a figure should be agreed by the end of the year, according to the BBC. 

Aitken became leader of Glasgow City Council in May last year and in January promised to draw a line under years of legal battles to reach a settlement with thousands of workers. The claims relate to a Job Evaluation Scheme introduced in 2006, which was intended to eliminate gender pay inequality. The problem was that the new system built in a three-year payment protection period for men who lost out on bonuses, which last year was ruled to be discriminatory.

A long court battle has also raged over the design of the scheme itself. It saw mainly female workers in jobs, such as catering, cleaning and caring, paid less than male workers in positions that were deemed to be of equal value, such as refuse collection.

Aitken told Good Morning Scotland that a final settlement was expected by the end of the year, with payouts starting to take place during the next financial year. She said her staff were looking at options that would pay out on claims while protecting services and jobs “as much as we can”. Such options include taking on more borrowing and “maximising income from assets” but not selling them off. 

Meanwhile, according to HR Grapevine, the Co-op Group has been taken to an employment tribunal by its former chief HR officer, who claims she was sacked for highlighting similar disparities between male and female pay.

Sam Walker claims she first raised questions over equal pay in 2015 after comparing her own salary to that of other male executives at the firm. She indicated she thought the Co-op had a widespread equal pay problem, which not only exposed it to potential legal action but was inconsistent with the group’s declared values.

Walker ended up working reduced hours and was later signed off work with trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder after her daughter sustained a brain injury. Soon afterwards, she was told her employment had been terminated. The tribunal will be heard over the next few weeks.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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Although the leader of Glasgow City Council expects years of legal wrangling over equal pay to finally be settled by the end of the year, she still does not know how much it will cost to close a deal.

Susan Aitken attested that estimates of between £500 million and £1 billion had been “plucked out of thin air”, but that negotiations were ongoing and a figure should be agreed by the end of the year, according to the BBC. 

Aitken became leader of Glasgow City Council in May last year and in January promised to draw a line under years of legal battles to reach a settlement with thousands of workers. The claims relate to a Job Evaluation Scheme introduced in 2006, which was intended to eliminate gender pay inequality. The problem was that the new system built in a three-year payment protection period for men who lost out on bonuses, which last year was ruled to be discriminatory.

A long court battle has also raged over the design of the scheme itself. It saw mainly female workers in jobs, such as catering, cleaning and caring, paid less than male workers in positions that were deemed to be of equal value, such as refuse collection.

Aitken told Good Morning Scotland that a final settlement was expected by the end of the year, with payouts starting to take place during the next financial year. She said her staff were looking at options that would pay out on claims while protecting services and jobs “as much as we can”. Such options include taking on more borrowing and “maximising income from assets” but not selling them off. 

Meanwhile, according to HR Grapevine, the Co-op Group has been taken to an employment tribunal by its former chief HR officer, who claims she was sacked for highlighting similar disparities between male and female pay.

Sam Walker claims she first raised questions over equal pay in 2015 after comparing her own salary to that of other male executives at the firm. She indicated she thought the Co-op had a widespread equal pay problem, which not only exposed it to potential legal action but was inconsistent with the group’s declared values.

Walker ended up working reduced hours and was later signed off work with trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder after her daughter sustained a brain injury. Soon afterwards, she was told her employment had been terminated. The tribunal will be heard over the next few weeks.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

OTHER ARTICLES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU

Tesco hit with potential £4bn legal challenge for equal pay in UK

Iceland first country to mandate gender pay equity

 Ontario legislates for equal pay for equal work

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