Date: Thurs 23 Mar 2006
MSPS CALL TIME ON EQUAL PAY DEBTS
UNISON Scotland today welcomed the Scottish Parliament Finance
Committee report on Equal Pay in local government calling it a stinging
criticism of the failure by employers to tackle equal pay. The Finance
Committee has concluded that:
· In failing to tackle equal pay the local government employers
were guilty of a "massive failure to engage in constructive negotiations".
· The Committee were dismayed at the councils' lack of progress
on pay equality. Pay equality was the employers' responsibility.
· There is "extreme concern" over the slow rate of current progress.
· The move away from national bargaining made no sense and increased
costs and delay.
· COSLA's claim about cost-neutral solutions was "hard to reconcile
with the scale of cost pressures identified".
· COSLA are wrong to assert that equal pay and single status are
separate issues. They are "absolutely interrelated".
· The Public Services Minister was wrong in deciding not to intervene.
· The Scottish Executive should have attached conditions linking
progress on single status to council funding.
· The Executive should now enter discussions with councils to identify
whether funding can be made available.
· Single status must be implemented as a matter of urgency. There
is no reason why it cannot be resolved within 12 months.
Commenting on the report, Peter Hunter UNISON legal officer said:
"The committee report pins the blame for this £600 million
travesty right where it belongs - on the leaders and managers of
Scottish local authorities. The report narrates a long history of
neglect but it also highlights the fact that councils are still
mismanaging the situation now.
" But what the report ignores is the fact that this is not
a victimless crime. Low paid women in Scotland are at least £600
million poorer now than they would have been if the councils had
done their job. Poverty and hardship that is directly attributable
to the mismanagement of Scottish councils. The committee's call
for the Minister to look at funding issues with councils cannot
be ignored. Only the Executive can move this situation forward,
a point not lost on the Finance Committee or the low paid women
waiting for justice."