Thousands of low paid women will now be able to proceed with their equal pay claims against Glasgow City Council (GCC) after an attempt by the council to avoid pay-outs was kicked out by the Court of Session this morning (Tuesday, May 30).
GCC had appealed a ruling by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) of March 2016 that they had continued to discriminate against women through the introduction of payment protections upholding the earnings of male colleagues following the initial wave of equal pay awards.
GMB Scotland, which has been representing the claims of over 1,500 members, has hailed the judgment a resounding win and is now calling on GCC’s new SNP administration to swiftly resolve all outstanding equal pay claims, as per its manifesto commitment.
GMB Scotland Secretary Gary Smith said: “After years of legal wrangling by Glasgow City Council, this morning’s judgment paves the way for thousands of low-paid women to claim justice.
“Times have been tough for these women who have had to endure this discrimination against a decade of real terms wage cuts across Scottish local government as a result of stifling austerity.
“The vast majority of them are our carers, caterers and cleaners, employed on the bottom rungs of the local government pay spine yet making some of the biggest contributions to the running of our local services.
“The new council leadership has been elected on a manifesto promise to resolve all outstanding equal pay claims and it goes without saying that GMB Scotland fully expects this to be honoured as swiftly as possible.”
A council spokesman said: “The council implemented a new pay and benefits structure, designed to ensure equal pay more than ten years ago. The matter before the court on this occasion related to the initial implementation of that scheme – and, more specifically, the decision to offer a three year period of payment protection as a ‘soft landing’ for members of the workforce facing a drop in earnings.”
Cllr Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council said: “This is a complex legal ruling. However it is now clear that the award of pay protection was done in a way which discriminated against some of our female workers at that time. The right thing to do now is for the council to have open discussions with those workers and their representatives about how we give effect to this ruling. I hope there will be goodwill on both sides during those discussions.”