Employees of North Lanarkshire Council could have a lengthy wait to find out if they are entitled to a higher level of pay, despite apparent progress at an employment tribunal.
Council bosses said they were ‘surprised’ when Edinburgh-based Fox and Partners solicitors, representing some of the employees at the tribunal, suggested that the workers involved now deserved to be on higher pay.
The solicitors released a statement saying that the council had ‘made a major and important concession at the Glasgow employment tribunal’ as it had ‘advised that they cannot defend evaluations in relation to home support workers, playground supervisors and school crossing patrollers’.
It continued: ‘This means that the grades of all home support workers since 2007 are incorrect and all employees in these posts should be re-graded.
‘The claimants’ representatives are arguing strongly to ensure that all claimants receive the pay and the back pay they deserve as soon as possible.’
Carol Fox said: “This is a huge development in a long running preliminary hearing where we have already had 30 days at tribunal.
“Across Scotland 100 of our claimants have died. We urge the council to consider their position and to reach settlements of all these cases as soon as possible.
“The strategy of the council to delay and to continue with tribunal proceedings is not in the interests of their employees or of council tax payers locally in North Lanarkshire.
“We call upon the elected officials within North Lanarkshire to reconsider the strategy to date.
“There is no defence to these claims and local councils must have the political will to settle these claims before more of our claimants die.
“We have contacted a number of our claimants to pass on this news and while they are delighted that the council have made this major concession, they are left wondering when they are going to get the pay they deserve under the law.”
However, council sources say there will be no action taken until the situation has been evaluated by an independent expert, and that the solicitors had possibly been ‘unnecessarily raising expectations’.
The Times & Speaker understands that the earliest a judgement could be expected is the end of the year.
A North Lanarkshire Council spokesperson said: “The council has accepted that one job evaluation factor out of 13 for home support workers and school crossing patrollers should not be relied upon by the tribunal.
“We anticipate these posts will be subject to an evaluation by an independent expert appointed by the tribunal which will decide what the appropriate grade will be.
“In addition, the council acknowledged that there was no concluded job evaluation for a post of playground supervisor.
“We are surprised and disappointed that Fox and Partners appear to be encouraging their clients to believe they will receive increased remuneration at this stage.”