Date Thursday 9 November 2006
Equal Pay must be funded and the implementation agreed - UNISON
UNISON, Scotland's local government union, said today that lack
of government funding was an important factor causing the slow rate
of progress towards reaching agreements on Single Status, in Scotland's
The union also condemned the unilateral imposition of proposals
being attempted by a number of councils, and the refusal of some
councils to develop proposals and divulge job evaluation details.
Carol Judge (UNISON's Scottish Organiser) said "Whilst local authorities
are responsible for the detailed pay and grading proposals of their
staff, government is responsible for delivering equal pay in the
public sector and has accepted those responsibilities in health,
education and other public services. We need a local government
financial settlement that recognises these costs and for local authorities
to recognise their responsibilities. It is time to deliver this
long standing obligation and to ensure justice for low paid women.
"UNISON is focused on progressing agreements but it is the responsibility
of local authorities to develop proposals. Too often councils are
withholding vital job evaluation details - information which is
essential for the trade unions if we are to negotiate the implementation
of equal pay and build staff confidence. What have these authorities
got to hide?
"In addition, some authorities are simply giving up any pretence
of negotiation and rushing headlong to impose new pay and conditions
on their staff. Sacking staff is never the appropriate response.
These authorities should return to the negotiating table to resolve
the outstanding issues.”
UNISON is also concerned that recent Best Value reports by Audit
Scotland do not reflect the seriousness of the problems identified
by the 2006 Finance Committee report into Single Status. They have
informed Audit Scotland that it ought to be more prominent in rectifying
problems identified by the Committee.
Carol said "No-one wants lengthy disputes or to divert public resources
to lawyers through litigation. The UK government's failure to put
Equal Pay law on a sound statutory footing at the time of the Department
of Employment 1993 review seriously undermined the ability of local
government employers to accurately project the costs of equal pay
during single status negotiations in 1999. Government must recognise
this and local councils should stop macho posturing and sit down
with unions to negotiate fair agreements that deliver equal pay
to low paid women.”
Notes to editors: The current situation is:
* Only three councils have concluded an agreement (South Lanarkshire,
Renfrewshire and Moray).
* A significant number of councils have made very little progress
in developing proposals.
* Several authorities have presented final proposals. In these areas
there are active negotiations or the proposals have been the subject
of membership ballots. (Glasgow is among those currently balloting
for industrial action).
* Falkirk Council has issued notices of dismissal and re-engagement
to staff. North Lanarkshire has imposed their pay and grading scheme.
Others have intimated that they will do the same.
* A large group of authorities are still developing proposals. This
includes detailed discussions with the trade unions, mainly around
the structure of the job evaluation scheme.
For Further Information Please Contact: Chris Bartter (Communications
Officer) 07715 583 729(m)