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Date: 10 April 2006

STUC backs call for Executive to deliver equal pay - Local government unions unite to call for funding

The Scottish Trades Union Congress today called for The Scottish Executive to fully fund a fair, equal pay scheme for Scottish Local Government staff in similar ways to government funding for equal pay in other public services.

UNISON - Scotland's main local government union moved the motion called on the Scottish Executive to fund councils sufficiently so they can pay low-paid women compensation for past pay discrimination, and modernise their pay scales for the future.

They were supported by the other two Scottish local government unions - T&GWU and the GMB.

Mike Kirby, UNISON's Scottish Convenor said in moving the motion "The calls from the Scottish Parliament's Finance Committee for the Minister to fund equal pay in local government cannot be ignored. This can only be sorted out by the Executive along with Scotland's Councils. We know who is responsible - will they sort it out in Local Government, and avoid a similar travesty in Health and Higher education?

If this funding does not happen local authorities will be forced to cut services, increase council tax and/or cut staff pay and conditions, in order to pay an estimated £500,000 plus compensation across Scotland. The need to resolve the increasing equal pay bill is becoming more pressing as time moves on. And one-off payments achieved through commercial law firms for a fee will neither deliver fair equal pay schemes in authorities, nor will they help people who do not wish to pursue individual claims.

Mike said "The Equal Pay Act was enacted in 1970. 35 years on we still await its promise. Low paid women in Scotland are £600m poorer than they would be if councils had done their legal duty. They should not have to wait any longer.

ENDS

For Further Information Please Contact: Mike Kirby (Scottish Convenor) 07803 952 261(m) Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser - Policy) 07958 122 409(m) John Stevenson (Scottish Communications Chair) 07876 795 018(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)

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