Council announces final settlements in historic £770m equal pay row

Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken says the move 'brings an end to the long-running equal pay litigation against the council'.

Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken announces final settlements in historic equal pay row iStock

The final tranche of equal pay settlements will be made to female claimants next month, Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said on Tuesday.

Scotland’s largest council agreed last year to pay around £770m to settle the equal pay claims.

The local authority will pay around 19,000 former and current workers, covering a “gap period” between an initial agreement in 2018 and the implementation of a new pay and grading system.

That deal was reached between the council and workers represented by Action 4 Equality, the GMB, Unison and Unite unions.

Aitken said on Tuesday she was “very, very pleased” to inform staff that work on the final instalment is now complete.

She said: “This brings an end to the long-running equal pay litigation against the council and is another huge step towards finally eradicating the legacy of pay discrimination against our women workers.

“My thanks and best wishes go to all the claimants who’ve been waiting for this news.”

Glasgow City Council say the main parties involved have signed a formal agreement concluding the details of the settlements and that HM Revenue and Customs has also confirmed the tax and national insurance arrangements.

Offers are to be made to representatives within 14 days and – once individual acceptances have been received by the council – payments will be made within 28 days.

Negotiations remain ongoing with some smaller claimant groups, but the council hopes to resolve those issues imminently to allow all offers to be processed in June.

The authority previously approved plans to fund the equal pay settlement by selling key council-owned buildings – including Glasgow City Chambers and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery – to an arm’s length company before leasing them back.

But it then stressed the buildings will remain in the city’s ownership and people will not experience any difference accessing them on a day-to-day basis.

Sean Baillie, GMB Scotland organiser, said Glasgow City Council had now agreed with HMRC on tax rates to apply to settlements, but said thousands of women workers have already waited far too long for pay justice.

“This is a welcome next step and will allow individual settlements to be finalised.

“Given the time these women have already waited to receive wages they worked and fought for, we would expect that to be done with as much urgency as possible.

“Meanwhile, our fight for pay justice continues because there is still a long road ahead to secure a new pay and grading structure that will end inequality and pay discrimination and protects jobs and improves the quality of life for thousands of Scotland’s most crucial workers.”

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