Ques­tions over equal pay set­tle­ment fees The po­si­tion has be­come much more con­cern­ing

Lawyers in­ves­ti­gate £38m pay­ments to le­gal and union rep­re­sen­ta­tives

Evening Times - - NEWS - BY NIALL CHRISTIE

FUR­THER ques­tions have been raised about fees paid in re­la­tion to equal pay awards on be­half of 16,000 women in Glas­gow.

Lawyers from Go­van Law Cen­tre have been in­ves­ti­gat­ing the le­gal is­sues sur­round­ing fees, which re­port­edly to­tal £38 mil­lion, given to Ac­tion 4 Equality Scot­land (A4ES), trade unions and law firms in Scot­land.

Fur­ther po­ten­tial fees could also be paid in 2021 on fi­nal equal pay awards, with le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tives for the women now ques­tion­ing whether this cash was de­ducted from the set­tle­ment fig­ures.

How­ever, Glas­gow City Coun­cil have made clear fees are a mat­ter be­tween claimants and rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Go­van Law Cen­tre’s prin­ci­pal solic­i­tor Mike Dailly said: “So far, we have es­tab­lished that many women rep­re­sented by trade unions were never told they would have to pay fees for their equal pay claims – some were ex­plic­itly told no fees were payable – and were never pro­vided with terms of busi­ness let­ters from their so­lic­i­tors set­ting out the need to pay fees or how these would be cal­cu­lated.

“The po­si­tion has be­come much more con­cern­ing as we now have par­tial ex­pla­na­tions that are com­pletely con­tra­dic­tory.”

Mr Dailly said a trade union le­gal ad­vi­sor told him le­gal fees were gath­ered by “adding a per­cent­age fig­ure to the set­tle­ment sum of ev­ery claimant who ac­cepted an of­fer”.

He added: “Is it the case that Glas­gow City Coun­cil has paid an ex­tra £38m of tax­pay­ers’ money on top of equal pay claims of over half a bil­lion pounds to pay the le­gal fees of a pri­vate claims man­age­ment com­pany and oth­ers?

“Or is it the case the £38m has been de­ducted from the set­tle­ment fig­ures of women?

“Too many ques­tions re­main unan­swered. Women work­ers in Glas­gow de­serve an­swers.”

Re­spond­ing to Mr Dailly’s ques­tions, a coun­cil spokesman said no ad­di­tional pay­ment was added to com­pen­sate for a de­duc­tion in fees.

They added: “This is not true. It is com­pletely un­true to say that a sum was added to the set­tle­ment in or­der to be de­ducted in le­gal fees. The trade unions k now this.

“It is also un­true to say that the coun­cil needed to find a way of pay­ing fees. Fees are clearly a mat­ter be­tween claimants and those rep­re­sent­ing them.

“The per­son who told Mr Dailly this ver­sion of events is ei­ther badly mis­in­formed or de­lib­er­ately ly­ing to him.”

Ac­tion 4 Equality Scot­land’s Ste­fan Cross added: “As re­quired by Glas­gow City Coun­cil, ev­ery sin­gle set­tle­ment was dealt with via so­lic­i­tors and ev­ery claimant re­ceived ex­pert le­gal ad­vice on the terms of the set­tle­ment.”

A GMB spokesper­son said: “GMB paid all our own le­gal fees and took no de­duc­tions from any of our mem­bers claims. We can’t speak for the ac­tions of oth­ers but we have noth­ing to owe or an­swer for.”

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