William Eichler 01 June 2016

North Lanarkshire settles equal pay dispute

A Scottish council has resolved a long-running dispute over equal pay claims in what it describes as a ‘major milestone’.

The new leadership of North Lanarkshire Council has annouced that after discussions with the union GMB Scotland it has agreed to settle legitimate equal pay claims.

Women working in the public sector have, historically, been paid less than their male counterparts for doing comparable jobs. Equal pay claims were introduced to compensate workers for this past discrimination.

North Lanarkshire has already paid out £100m in compensation, but under the last administration they were reluctant to pay out for any more claims.

Last April, GMB Scotland organised a protest to demand the local authority compensate 2,000 female workers and accused the council of lacking the ‘political will’ to act on this issue.

Responding to the councils decision, GMB Scotland organiser, Hazel Nolan, said: ‘A recent change in leadership at the council prompted fresh negotiations and improved settlement offers subsequently followed, meaning GMB Scotland members can now look forward to significant equal pay awards.

‘The new council leadership immediately recognised the need to resolve this inequality and their willingness to work with GMB Scotland in negotiating a proper settlement means our members are at last getting justice.’

North Lanarkshire leader, Cllr Jim Logue, said: ‘I have made it clear since becoming council leader that we will settle equal pay claims where these are justified.

‘I am pleased to say this agreement in principle, which is subject to further discussion, with the GMB union, is a positive step towards that aim.’

‘This is a major milestone which I hope will mark a departure from the confrontations of the past. We have negotiated in a sensible and constructive manner with the GMB and its legal advisers to reach agreement,’ Cllr Logue continued.

‘If anything, this shows how quickly justified settlements can be reached through willingness to sit down and talk.’

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