NL Coun­cil have shelled out most in equal pay claims

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - Intimations - Ian Bunting

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.”

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