Glasgow City Council could be hit with crippling £1bn bill ‘to resolve equal pay dispute’

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A trade union claims Glasgow council could be hit with a crippling £1billion bill to resolve a damaging equal pay dispute.

The cost warning comes as female workers blasted council leader Susan Aitken over a long-running row that will lead to strike action next week.

Home carer Jackie McNeil said Aitken needed a “reality check”, while one-time childcare worker Kath Stirling urged the administration to “pay up”.

The SNP-led council partly settled the city’s equal pay bills in an earlier deal worth over £500million that involved remortgaging major venues.

But trade unions say women continue to be discriminated against and estimate settling some of the outstanding claims could cost about another £200million, with a much higher final bill to come.



Glasgow Council Chief Susan Aitken
Glasgow Council Chief, Susan Aitken

In interviews with the Record, members of the GMB and Unison trade unions who will take part in the strike have hit out at the council.

Jackie, 51, who is employed directly by the local authority, said: “At this point we don’t have any choice. None of us want to be on strike. We genuinely do this job because we care about all our service users.”

She said of the outstanding claims: “If we owed them rent or council tax, how long would they wait before we had to pay them?”

She said the council had treated workers “appallingly” and added: “It’s just insulting. It’s like another kick in the teeth. We don’t have any faith in them whatsoever. Claps for carers was very much appreciated. But it doesn’t pay your bills.”

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On Aitken, she said: “Susan needs a reality check. She needs to put her money where her mouth is.

Stirling, a 54-year-old from Cambuslang who works full time for Unison, also has a claim in from her time as a residential childcare worker.

She said: “We are not treated equally. I feel it’s shocking. The reason it has gone on is down to Glasgow City Council, not the women. My message would be paid up. This money belongs to these women. This is not overtime. This is money that is rightly theirs – they have worked for it.”

GMB Scotland Organiser Sean Baillie said: “Our members are on the brink of strike action because of the council officials’ dither and
delay on settlement negotiations.

“No-one in the council should be in any doubt whatsoever about why this is happening again. We think the council needs to find over £200million just to settle interim claims and new claims, and the final bill for the council’s discrimination could well pass the £1billion mark – it’s happened in Birmingham and it can happen in Glasgow.”

A council spokesman said: “The council is committed to delivering pay equality and addressing claims.

“Earlier this month, the committee gave officials authority to make offers worth an estimated £30million to new claimants, based on the 2019 deal – which covered the years up to March 2018. The next step is to negotiate the period following that date.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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