NL Council have shelled out most in equal pay claims
North Lanarkshire Council have paid out more money than any local authority to resolve equal pay disputes.
The council have splashed out £129.9 million on equal pay since an agreement was reached a decade ago.
More than £700m has been spent on settling claims across Scotland, with more than 27,000 outstanding claims left a special report by the Accounts Commission revealed.
Glasgow City Council is expected to surpass North Lanarkshire Council in terms of total cash forked out.
But GMB Scotland organiser, Hazel Nolan, said:“What we have been left with is nothing short of a modern day scandal, because councils have squandered millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on legal fees to dodge the significant debts owed to low paid women – and major councils like Glasgow have still to settle.
“Over a decade after this mess was supposed to have been sorted out, women are still having to fight for equal pay.
“What we have learned from councils like North Lanarkshire is that politicians and officials aren’t going to deliver equal pay settlements on a plate, court judgements merely open doors for claimants, and our members have to campaign industrially and politically for justice.”
After the report hit out at councils not understanding the ‘complex nature’of payouts, Paul Jukes, chief executive of North Lanarkshire Council, said: “North Lanarkshire has historically had one of the largest work forces in Scotland, so it is not surprising that we had the highest number of claimants up to last year.
“Nor is it a surprise that we have the highest total of payouts as we have been proactive in seeking to settle as many claims as possible where that is appropriate.
“In doing so, we have worked hard with trade unions to progress matters and it is notable that we have a relatively small number of live claims.
“These live claims are being worked through as quickly as possible.
“Audit Scotland’s report is right to say that the issues around equal pay and the implementation of job evaluation schemes are complex.
“The recommendation that elected members are familiar with the issues around equal pay is a principle this council has embraced for many years, with a working group of councillors being involved in every stage.”