Laura Sharman 13 February 2018

Council faces legal action over outstanding equal pay awards

Council faces legal action over outstanding equal pay awards image

Fife Council is facing fresh legal proceedings over the non-payment of equal pay awards, a trade union has warned.

GMB Scotland said the council has failed to make equal pay settlements for over sixty workers, many of which were awarded over two years ago.

The trade union said the council had already paid out £80m in equal pay settlements but had failed to explain why the remaining claims have yet to be paid.

‘For reasons which Fife Council cannot seem to explain to us, over sixty women are still waiting on the award of their equal pay settlement,’ said GMB Scotland organiser, Helen Meldrum.

‘This is nearly two years after the finalisation of the second wave claims against Fife Council and we have been left with little choice but to reclaim what is owed to our members through the courts.

‘In all likelihood the monies due to our members will amount to a few hundred thousand pounds; a drop in the ocean compared to the £80m paid out in equal pay settlements by the council.’

Sharon McKenzie, head of HR at Fife Council, said: 'Fife Council has worked diligently to resolve issues relating to settling claims and had not, until two weeks ago, been advised by the legal representatives of the GMB claimants that there were any outstanding issues. We had been working with a solicitor at Thompsons who has subsequently left and this perhaps has resulted in difficulties. The last communication from Thompsons was some considerable months ago and it did not raise the issues currently being raised by the local branch.

'As agreed, the local branch has now provided us with detail of the claims they have identified as outstanding and we are working through them to identify a resolution. In terms of due process, we are obliged to communicate directly with GMB’s solicitors rather than the local branch and we would encourage the local branch to respect this so that there is a single point of contact for queries.

'These issues relate to claims already with the tribunal and the solicitors acting for the GMB recently agreed that the cases be sisted for a further period during which we will look at any and all queries. There is therefore no need for “fresh legal action” as these cases are already with the tribunal and will be addressed in the next few days.'

One year on, councils will be central to recovery image

One year on, councils will be central to recovery

After an extraordinary year, council staff are exhausted, worn down and facing further cuts, says Heather Jameson. But she has no doubt they will continue to rise to the challenge 'whether it is in an office, at home or on a laptop anywhere'.
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