Council workers’ victory at tribunal

North Lanarkshire Council  is considering an appeal of the tribunal's decision.
North Lanarkshire Council is considering an appeal of the tribunal's decision.

Thousands of female North Lanarkshire Council workers have won a victory in their long running battle over equal pay.

Glasgow Employment Tribunal has ruled there is no descrection in law to vary the judical rate of eight per cent interest in the case of McCarthy and others v North Lanarkshire Council.

The council had argued that the existing rate of judicial interest of eight per cent was punitive and would result in injustice to the council.

Carol Fox, of Fox and Partners, said: “We are really delighted to have a further decision in favour of our claimants.

“We expected to win on interest and hope that all councils with outstanding equal pay cases will now think very carefully about continuing to defend this litigation.

“For 10 years women have fought a determined struggle for justice and equality in the face of opposition, obstruction and deliberate tactics employed to delay cases.

“We are now in the final phase of these equal pay cases and we call upon every local authority in Scotland to ensure that claimants now receive settlements without further delay.”

However, the tribunal ruled that, unlike discrimination claims, equal pay cases could not attract a payment of injury to feelings (ITF) due to the purely contractual nature of the cases.

Ms Fox added: “We will give consideration to this part of the decision in relation to any possible appeal.

“There will now be further procedure at the employment tribunal to apply this rate of interest and to ensure awards are made to these claimants in North Lanarkshire Council at the earliest opportunity. “

The council has settled some 6,000 cases so far, but still has 4,500 outstanding, and a spokesman intimated an appeal is being considered.

He said: “The tribunal judgment deals with complex legal issues and needs to be studied in detail.

“The council is pleased the judge has ruled in its favour on the question of compensation for injury to feelings, in which claimants’ representatives attempted, unsuccessfully, to overturn established legal precedents.

“While the council recognises that the employment judge has not accepted its arguments in relation to judicial interest, we are considering whether this should be subject to an appeal.”