Date 14 December 2006
Falkirk Strike Goes Ahead as Court Bid Fails
UNISONs attempts to avert mass dismissals and industrial action
at Falkirk Council have been rejected by the Court of Session. The
dismissals at the council are intended to impose revised terms and
conditions which include a mixture of pay rises, pay freezes and
some pay cuts.
UNISON and the GMB believe that the new terms contain significant
pay discrimination between women and men and that, consequently,
they are unlawful. All councils have a duty to monitor and encourage
equality within their workforce and to take specific steps to ensure
that their labour costs deliver Best Value for the tax payer. This
legal action asked the court to suspend the new terms and conditions
until such time as an equality assessment had been carried out.
However, without commenting on the existence of inequality within
the council, the court said that the issue should be heard in an
Employment Tribunal and not the Court of Session. In the meantime,
the dismissals take effect.
Peter Hunter, UNISON legal officer said: "Employees and council
tax payers in Falkirk should be concerned by the decision of the
Court of Session that this question can only be asked properly in
an employment tribunal. UNISON is already processing in excess of
10,000 cases and they will take years to complete. Falkirk have
already paid out over £3 million in equal pay compensation and where
there is inequality in the pay system the debt to employees simply
accrues at a fairly attractive judicial interest rate. We would
warmly welcome any opportunity to re-open talks with a view to removing
what we believe to be continuing pay discrimination."
UNISON have a pre-planned demonstration for Saturday and a day
of strike action planned for Monday 18th December.
Gray Allan, UNISON Branch Secretary said: "In the midst of all
this the Chief Executive has said the council are willing to listen
to our concerns and, if appropriate, look for agreement on specific
points. That is to be welcomed, but it doesn't alter the fact that
our members are being dismissed and offered discrimination and detriment
under the new terms. We will demonstrate our opposition to that
with a rally on Saturday and a strike on Monday"
Contact Gray Allan - UNISON Falkirk 07710528533 Peter Hunter
UNISON Legal Officer 0774 016 7777