Hundreds of council equal pay claims still under review

Hundreds of equal pay claims are still to be dealt with by Glasgow council.

Glasgow City Council chiefs are still dealing with hundreds of equal pay claims, a new report has revealed.

Watchdogs at the Accounts Commission praised Scotland’s largest local authority for its handling of the dispute, which will cost the council £505m to settle.

A report examining how the council dealt with the equal pay claims said it had “successfully delivered a challenging and complicated project within a relatively short period of time”.

By the end of August last year, the council had settled more than 98% of claims, with payments being made.

But the report said that at the end of November 2019, there were still approximately 150 equal pay settlements outstanding.

These related to “instances where the case has been difficult to finalise”, including where the women involved have not returned signed agreement forms, or the claimant has died and the council has to work with their estate or executor.

The Accounts Commission stressed: “The council is committed to finalising all outstanding settlements in so far as it reasonably can.”

A claimant group, which included the unions GMB, Unison and Unite as well as Action 4 Equality, reached the deal with the council last year.
That came after around 8000 Glasgow council workers walked out on strike for 48 hours in October 2018 in a bid to settle the long-running pay claim.

The Accounts Commission noted: “There are also approximately 480 claimants with existing equal pay claims but who are not represented by the claimants’ representatives.”

The settlement proposal from the council “does not include these claims”, it added.

But the report stressed: “Overall, the council has successfully delivered a challenging and complicated project within a relatively short period of time.

“Key to this were the governance and management arrangements that the council put in place around the project.”

Graham Sharp, chair of the Accounts Commission, said: “We welcome that the council successfully delivered a challenging and complex project within a short space of time, with good governance arrangements and appropriate controls to ensure equal pay settlements were accurate.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “This was one of the biggest projects of its kind ever undertaken by a local authority – delivered against an extremely challenging timescale.

“At all times, our priority has been to get the right result for claimants, the rest of our workforce and the hundreds of thousands of Glaswegians who depend upon the services the council provides.”

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