William Eichler 12 December 2023

Brum workers consider strike over equal pay delays

Brum workers consider strike over equal pay delays   image
Image: Richard OD / Shutterstock.com.

Thousands of workers at Birmingham City Council will today start a ballot for strike action in response to equal pay claim delays.

GMB, which describes itself as the council’s largest staff union, called on the council’s leaders to announce a timetable for settling the authority’s £750m equal pay liability.

In October, the council agreed to implement a new job evaluation scheme in a major step towards meeting its equal pay liabilities.

However, GMB said that council representatives had informed them that settlement talks would be delayed further.

Rachel Fagan, GMB, said: ‘Every single day, thousands of women across Birmingham are going to work and being underpaid because of the council’s failure to value their work properly and fairly.

‘They’re owed millions of pounds from years of stolen wages, but they’ll now be plunged into a Christmas of uncertainty as council bosses refuse to come clean on the plan to pay them what they’re owed.’

Commissioners have given the council until 7 January to set out a ‘credible plan’ for addressing a £300m budget gap over the next two years after the local authority was forced to declare itself effectively bankrupt in September.

The GMB ballot will run until mid-January 2024 with more than 3,000 workers being asked to have their say on strike action.

A council spokesperson said: ‘The council has been engaging with GMB on matters of equal pay since November 2021, and following the further agreement made with the Trades Unions in October 2023, has begun work on a new approach to job evaluation to settle Birmingham’s equal pay issues once and for all.

‘The council would encourage GMB to explore solutions working together, as it remains committed to resolving historic equal pay issues and settling all legitimate claims from our employees.’

If this article was of interest, then check out, 'Righting the wrongs of equal pay', 'Can local government take much more?', 'Preventing future Section 114 notices' and 'How to fix local government finance'.

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