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Monday 15 August 2005

Equal pay will be won by unions, not by lawyers - UNISON

UNISON, the major union in Scottish local government, today condemned attempts by any English law firm to cash in on the work done by trade unions and the EOC to pursue equal pay in Scotland's public sector.

The union - with 150,000 Scottish members - also warned that, unless fair, equality-proofed pay scales were agreed in local councils across Scotland, cherry-picking the most obvious cases might leave many workers without equal pay.

They also argue that the Scottish Executive should be providing the necessary funding.

Joe Di Paola, UNISONScotland's Scottish Organiser for Bargaining said "UNISON is fighting for equal pay for low paid women members in local government and across the public sector. We have been arguing for fair pay across local government, but some employers have simply not wanted to know. So we have also been building up information on likely test tribunal cases which we are now ready to use on employers who won't talk to us, in fact, we are instructing advocates right now.

"We think that this work means that we are in a far better position than any johnny-come-lately lawyers to pursue successful claims on behalf of members.

"Of course where UNISON takes cases, such as in North Cumbria NHS Trust, our successful members get all the money due to them. It makes me angry that an English law firm now wants to jump on the bandwagon, and cherry-pick obvious cases to get their 20% commission.

"These law firms, with their one-off cases, don't care about the impact on the rest of the staff. UNISON does care and has been pushing employers for negotiated deals that both address the just claims of low paid (mainly women) members - especially those in caring; catering and cleaning - whilst also ensuring that other members are not ignored.

"The Scottish Executive needs to recognise its responsibilities in funding equal pay in Scotland."


For Further Information Please Contact:

Joe Di Paola (Scottish Org - Bargaining) 0845 355 0845(w) 07990 505 698(m) Chris Bartter(Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)