Unite the union confirmed that its members involved in the Equal Pay dispute at Glasgow City Council are to be balloted for industrial action in response to ‘broken promises’ by the local authority.
What’s the problem?
Trade unions including Unite have accused Glasgow City Council of reneging on previous commitments given to the predominantly female claimants involved in the estimated £500 million Equal Pay dispute.
Glasgow City Council now face potential strike action in the coming weeks due to what Unite states are ‘unnecessary delays’ in the process of settling the equal pay claims.
Despite progress being made for around 5000 claimants who have had no settlement for the period up to March 2018, around 18,000 claimants are still waiting for a settlement for the period after March 2018.
The delays are being blamed on a new pay and grading system which will not be fully implemented until 2024. Unite along with the other trade unions representing the claimants are demanding that Glasgow City Council make the payments now.
However, the council argues that it is following a process agreed with unions in 2019, and the delays were also agreed with the unions.
When is the ballot?
The ballot on industrial action will open today (Feb 28) and is set to close on March 14. If the ballot is successful then Unite’s members involved in the dispute could take strike action from the end of March onwards.
Unite members being balloted include clerical and administrative workers, caterers, home carers, cleaners, janitors, car park attendants and education services workers.
What is Unite saying?
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “It’s a scandal that thousands of workers are still awaiting cash that should have been in their pockets months ago. Instead, the claimants continue to face unnecessary delays in getting what is owed to them.
“Let’s remember that this situation was entirely of Glasgow City Council’s making through an unfair and discriminatory pay grade system. Unite’s members have the full support of their union in challenging the Council to get the cash they are owed without any further delay.”
Wendy Dunsmore, Unite industrial officer, added: "Glasgow City Council’s broken promises over the payments to claimants, who are predominantly female, is disgraceful. Thousands of claimants are being told that they may have to wait several years before they get their settlements. Many received an interim payment up to 2018 and they should so again. It’s an unacceptable situation and that’s why we are holding a ballot for industrial action. Many of these workers don’t have the time to wait months and years for their money.
“There is a cost of living crisis with inflation soaring. Choices are literally being made every day by families over the cost of fuel, energy and living.”
How has the council responded?
A council spokesman said: “We are following the process agreed with unions at the time of the 2019 deal. We have made it clear we are ready to make offers on new claims – and are committed to discussing the gap period thereafter.”