Discrimination Yes, but negotiated BY a trade union WITH a Labour Council

Typically selective from BBC Scotland throughout this morning:

Council employees will start lodging equal pay claims for what a trade union says us a discriminatory pay agreement. The GMB union alleges those working in traditionally male dominated roles are paid substantial bonuses which aren’t available to those working in jobs commonly done by women. Glasgow City Council had a similar dispute and was forced to pay half a billion pounds to settle thousands of claims.

Would that have been an SNP Council, do tell? Labour maybe?

Did the GMB actually negotiate the discriminatory deal in the first place? No? Some other trade union?

In October, we wrote:

In the Herald today:

Almost 1400 women are preparing to launch legal action against their trade unions over the way officials dealt with historic equal pay disputes within Scotland’s councils. The workers, some of whom claim to have lost out on tens of thousands of pounds, are lodging claims against Unison, Unite and GMB under a new class action process introduced in Scotland earlier this year.

For more than a year from early 2018, BBC Scotland often featured extended coverage of marches and interviews implying that the current SNP Glasgow City Council was responsible for the wages discrimination against women when it had been decades of Labour administrations in cahoots with male-dominated unions such as the GMB that had been responsible:

The women have clearly found them out and are pursuing unions like the GMB whose industrial organiser for 20 years was Richard Leonard. I look forward to BBC Scotland interrogating him and their current leader Gary Smith, recently seen defending private care home owners against suggestions they might have been to blame for the care home deaths:


The BBC used to be openly biased against trade unions back in the 70s. It has only been since the first SNP administration that they have started to co-habit.

Only the UK Guardian gave even half of the full facts, pinning Labour but missing the trade union involved:

The dispute stems from 2006, when a new job evaluation scheme was introduced by the then Labour-run council, with the aim of addressing gender pay inequality. Instead, say the women affected, it entrenched discrimination by paying female-dominated jobs such as catering and cleaning less than male-dominated jobs such as refuse collection, despite them being deemed of equal value, because of a complex system that penalised people working split-shifts and irregular hours. The scheme also built in a three-year payment protection for men who lost out on bonuses, which was only last year ruled discriminatory by the court of session in Edinburgh. A 12-year battle has been fought through the tribunals and courts. Many hoped it would be expedited when, after decades of Labour control, the SNP won the council elections in May 2017 on a manifesto that promised to settle the claims.

14 thoughts on “Discrimination Yes, but negotiated BY a trade union WITH a Labour Council

  1. Is it not the case that when ythe women were eventually paid the union tried to ‘top-slice’ the payments because they claimed the women owed them for legal fees or some such?

    Sorry no link but remember reading it somewhere at the time

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is my recollection, too. I think it related to the deal made with a legal business to pursue the case. I cannot recall whether it was the trade union which engaged the law business on a ‘no-win-no-fee’ type of deal or whether it was a group of women themselves, concerned about the inaction of the union who engaged the company.

      I think that the ‘repayment’ might have been made via the payroll. Many people pay their TU dues via the payroll, where the employer deducts it and transfers the money to the TU. I have a memory that because it was deducted from pay there was an attempt to blame the Council for taking the money.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Unfortunately the Trade Union officials, like the Labour Party, have forgotten why they were formed. They have become a political power base seeking only to increase that power and influence.

    The reasons behind the formation of Trade Unions was protection through unity to defend the collective rights of the workers.

    The blind support of the Labout Party by modern trade union officials was exposed fully by the Glasgow equal pay claim. The Trade Unions and a LABOUR council denied these Women a fair settlement.

    Scotland is an excellent example of that disconnect. The majority of the members of these Trade a Unions are not Labour voters and yet the officials still give their full support to a dying Party branch….because??

    The Trade Unions are required, probably more than ever, but their loyalty should be to the members. We have quite a few of these great socialists drinking champagne in the House of Lords.

    Why do so many forget who put them the there?
    Why do they so easily forget why they are there?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This letter may be relevant.The UK gov controls employment policy and,within that, industrial tribunals across the UK.

    Click to access Letter_to_Editor_of_The_Times_from_ELA_ILS_ELBA.pdf

    “Our members represent both employees and employers.
    We were very disappointed to read the “investigation” pieces on the employment tribunal (‘Tribunal system chaos: No experience necessary to be a judge in hearings free-for-all’ and ‘Poet and novelist amongst judges fast-tracked to the bench’) and, in particular, the unwarranted attack on newly-appointed employment judges.

    We do not accept the accuracy and factual basis of some of the assertions made but restrict ourselves to addressing the following specific points.

    First, access to justice is a fundamental right. It is essential to our society that workers are able to enforce their employment rights.

    Second, employment tribunal fees were abolished in 2017 because the Supreme Court found them to be unlawful due to their severe curtailment on access to justice. Claims had reduced by almost 70% following their unlawful introduction in 2013. That workers now have access to the employment tribunals is to be welcomed.

    Third, the employment tribunal system has been grossly under-funded for some time and requires significant government investment in order to fairly dispense justice to employees and employers. This has become even more apparent during the pandemic. A promised modernised electronic case management system is long overdue. Crucially, the employment tribunal system requires increased administrative and judicial resource i.e. more staff and more judges.

    Fourth, employment judges are appointed by an independent Judicial Appointments Commission. The personal (and discriminatory) attack on employment judges who have been appointed following such a process is entirely without justification and particularly concerning.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “By the time of the Glasgow settlement, Unison had dealt with 5,000 claims, while the GMB had more than 2,500 and Unite had a small number of claims.

    However, Disclosure revealed the three unions – as well as Action 4 Equality – entered into a deal before negotiations began with the council.

    As part of this deal, it was agreed that every claimant would have a percentage of the settlement offered by the council deducted in legal fees – including those backed by their unions.

    All of the claimant organisations told the programme their members or clients benefitted from this deal and received higher offers by working together.

    But Audrey Masson, a home carer represented by the GMB, said: “Nothing against Stefan Cross, why should we have to pay, because I never signed for him to represent me. I signed for the unions.”

    Mr Cross, the director of Action 4 Equality, said that by signing their settlement offers, claimants agreed to the terms.

    READ MORE: Equal pay battle could have cost a fraction of £550m bill

    He said: “Every single agreement includes a legal commitment to make that payment.”

    The unions said settlements were based on a “complex formula” and they could not discuss them because they were confidential.

    As well as the legal fees, Disclosure also discovered that potentially thousands of workers have missed out on claiming for the full extent of their discrimination.

    Under Scottish law, workers who have been discriminated against are entitled to five years back-pay if their case is successful.

    However, because the pay dispute at Glasgow City Council has gone on since 2006, the maximum time period claimants can receive compensation for is 12 years.

    Audrey Masson worked as a home carer for 15 years but is receiving only five years back-pay, but alleges her union never told her to put in a claim.

    She did eventually lodge a claim but too late to receive the full amount of 12 years of back-pay.

    Ms Masson said: “We stood on the picket lines for equality, and we didn’t even get it. Most of the people that stood on the picket lines didn’t even know they were only getting five years.”

    The GMB union, who represented Ms Masson, denied claims were put in late.

    In an interview with the BBC, Gary Smith, GMB Scotland Secretary, said: “We were given the wrong legal advice, we did not pursue the same cases as the private lawyers, or indeed one of the other unions. But our members were not left at a detriment in the end.””



  5. It was an entire life-style for a Scottish Labour man. Join the union; get a rung on the ladder; instigate a strike (Scots were always cannon fodder for ambitious Union bosses) ; become a Labour cooncillor (++ jobs for the wife, weans, pick of the best cooncil hooses (then buy) ).
    Toe the line, get selected as an MP. Keep you gob shut, toe the line; get a seat in the Lords.
    IMPORTANT–do nothing for your constituents.

    We had an NUM union delegate who “worked” five day a week as a councillor, but then worked every Saturday/Sunday for Scottish Coal.
    The work force lost every benefit they ever had. Transport, coal, enhanced overtime etc. Scottish coal went bust and our pensions were put in the “protected pension pot” so we now get less than we should.

    The company left despoilation all over Ayrshire/Lanarkshire/Fife to the cost of £150 million. One of four company directors was a certain Brian Wilson.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, do nothing for the constituents was Labour policy it seems and it would be again. The Labour party really are a CON, self servatives. Didn’t know that about B.Wilson, not surprised in the least though. Who had to pay to clean up the despoliation? I doubt it was the company.


    1. That is odd, and poor donkeys. Labour deserve no sanctuary, half of them should be locked up for shafting the people of Scotland. I suppose some of them managed to get into the House of Lords sanctuary though, lying scheming theiving troughers.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I hope the women do take the unions to court, their complicity in the discrimination against the women can’t be shoved under the carpet anymore. The legacy of the Labour party in Glasgow city council is nothing short of a disgrace and their attempts to lay the whole disgraceful saga at the door of the SNP revealed Labours’ decades of shafting the people of Glasgow. Wasn’t it the case the sound of shredders could be heard as soon as Labour realised the party was over for them and they would be exciting GCC buildings when voted out, lots to hide.
    Labour have a lot to answer for, and looks like R. Leornard should be facing some questions as well.


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