Questions over equal pay settlement fees The position has become much more concerning
Lawyers investigate £38m payments to legal and union representatives
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.”