Victory for Glasgow women workers as court orders £50m payout by city council

Unions call on new Glasgow administration to fulfil ruling on £50m boon

WOMEN SEEKING JUSTICE from Glasgow City Council (GCC) for exclusion from bonus payments and the chance for equal pay over decades won a major battle in the Court of Session this week.

The court ordered GCC to pay the female council workers their share of a £50 million windfall after a legal ruling over equal pay.

Yesterday (Tuesday 30 May) the ruling found in favour of over 6,000 claimants who brought their case supported by public sector trade unions.

Female council employees who had been systematically left out of council payments given only to male counterparts had instructed their lawyers to take the case to Edinburgh with their legal action sponsored by the Unison and the GMB.

GCC had appealed the original decision of the tribunal before the recent local elections but lost the appeal at the Court of Session when Lady Dorrian, Scotland’s second most senior judge, upheld the original tribunal decision.

Unions representing the 6,000 women have asked the new GCC administration to ensure quick payment of the money to women affected by the discrimination. 

“These women have already waited long enough to receive the pay they have worked hard for and deserve. It’s time for Glasgow city council to do the right thing and pay up on equal pay.” Mike Kirby

Gary Smith, Scottish secretary fo ther GMB, said: “After years of legal wrangling, this judgment paves the way for thousands of low-paid women to claim justice. Times have been tough for these women, who have had to endure this discrimination against a decade of real-terms wage cuts across Scottish local government as a result of stifling austerity.

“The vast majority of them are our carers, caterers and cleaners, employed on the bottom rungs of the local government pay spine yet making some of the biggest contributions to the running of our local services.

“The new council leadership has been elected on a manifesto promise to resolve all outstanding equal pay claims and it goes without saying that GMB Scotland fully expects this to be honoured as swiftly as possible.”

“The right thing to do now is for the council to have open discussions with those workers and their representatives about how we give effect to this ruling.” Susan Aitken

Mike Kirby of Unison Scotland also welcomed the ruling and said: “The pay protection win is great news. The way Glasgow rates and pays workers has been the source of conflict and division for ten years. These women have already waited long enough to receive the pay they have worked hard for and deserve. It’s time for Glasgow City Council to do the right thing and pay up on equal pay.”

Both unions called on the new SNP group now in charge of Glasgow City Council to fulfil all its obligations to the women promptly and without any delay.

Susan Aitken, the leader of GCC, confirmed that new discussions would now take place to ensure the women’s needs were addressed.

She said: “It is now clear that the award of pay protection was done in a way which discriminated against some of our female workers at that time.

“The right thing to do now is for the council to have open discussions with those workers and their representatives about how we give effect to this ruling. I hope there will be goodwill on both sides during those discussions.”

Picture Michael D Beckwith

Check out what people are saying about how important CommonSpace is: Pledge your support today.