Council employees call for authority to take action on equal pay

Alex Neil MSP organised the meeting along with Neil Gray MP
Alex Neil MSP organised the meeting along with Neil Gray MP

More than 175 North Lanarkshire Council employees gathered at a meeting in Airdrie last week to call for action on equal pay claims.

The meeting, organised by Alex Neil MSP and Neil Gray MP, heard from Mark Irvine, a former full-time union official who now represents Equality Scotland, and Alison Martin and Donna Gray from the legal firm DM Legal.

Workers told how they had been ‘cheated out of big financial settlements by the authority’s failure to implement national agreements on equal pay’.

In some cases, workers have reportedly lost more than £10,000.

They also said they felt let down by UNISON and the GMB.

It was said in some cases the union had lost their claim and in others they had failed to fight for their members on the issue of equal pay.

Mark Irvine urged the workers not to give up but to keep on fighting. He said that the council will be forced by the Employment Tribunal to pay out eventually.

DM Legal, which represents many of North Lanarkshire Council’s employees, spelt out the need for unity in the struggle for fairness and urged those still owed money to work together to guarantee success.

Mr Neil said that it was outrageous that a Labour-run council had gone to great lengths to deny its own workers their legal entitlement to equal pay.

He added that the council had spent many hundreds of thousands of pounds on legal fees to attack their own workers.

Mr Gray said it was time for NLC to stop any more delaying tactics and pay out now.

The meeting voted to invite council leader, Jim McCabe, and the UNISON and GMB union leaders in Scotland to attend another meeting soon.

In response, a NLC spokesman said: “The council implemented a national agreement which was signed up to by the trade unions.

“To date, we have settled equal pay claims in excess of £100 million. The council has always adopted a position of paying claims where these are justified and will continue to treat claims on their legal merits

“We have offered compensation payments to 205 GMB members, 52 of which have been accepted to date, based on settlement terms proposed by the GMB and based on the claim GMB had lodged against the council.

“The council agreed settlement terms with Unison in March of this year.”