Equal pay strikes in Glasgow suspended after deal agreed with unions

Courts rules the council's payment protection scheme, as well as the workforce pay and benefits review, discriminated against women.

Equal pay strikes in Glasgow suspended after deal agreed with unions iStock

Planned strike action in Glasgow over equal pay has been suspended after a deal was reached to settle the dispute.

Unions had sought to ensure that Glasgow City Council maintain the deal secured in 2019, as well as agreeing to further payments in an “acceptable timescale”.

The 2019 settlement, which is worth over £500m, was agreed with around 16,000 current and former council employees.

It covered pay claims up to March 31, 2018, with estimates at the time suggesting it could take until April 2024 to put a new pay and grading system in place.

The deal was reached after courts in 2017 ruled that the council’s payment protection scheme, as well as the workforce pay and benefits review, discriminated against women.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Unison announced that all further industrial action would be suspended in “good faith”.

But the union’s Scottish secretary, Tracey Dalling, said it was “simply unacceptable” that women had been forced to take their pay fight “to the brink of strike action”.

A Glasgow City Council spokesperson said: “The council is committed to delivering pay equality and is pleased the planned industrial action has been suspended.

“We will continue to work with trades unions and others representing claimants to deliver a settlement.

“Families and citizens who have previously been contacted about school and nursery closures or other disruption can now expect normal services to be in place.”

Ms Dalling welcomed the agreement, but noted that there is “still hard work to do”.

She said: “This is fantastic news I want to congratulate every one of the women involved in this struggle to end pay injustice. Particularly Unison’s hard-working low paid women who have been resolute to the end.

“It is simply unacceptable that women were forced to take their fight all the way to the brink of strike action.

“However we now seem to have reached agreement, there is still hard work to do, but this is good news for everyone across Glasgow.” 

Mandy McDowall, Unison regional organiser for Glasgow, said: “This agreement was only possible because Unison members were prepared to take significant action to end pay injustice.

“All further industrial action is suspended in good faith as we are optimistic we can find a resolution. However, the dispute will remain live should legal discussions falter.

“Unison members will not hesitate to strike again should we need to.”

The agreement was also welcomed by the GMB union, who indicated they would monitor developments closely.

Sean Baillie, the union’s Scotland organiser, said: “For GMB members in Glasgow City Council, equal pay justice is a significant step closer. 

“The incredible strength and solidarity of GMB members, throughout many years of struggle, has been critical to achieving this progress and securing key commitments from the council. 

“We will monitor developments closely, as further details of the implementation of these commitments emerge, and our mandate for strike action remains live.”