Council forced to compensate women in gender pay dispute

A council is to pay thousands of women as much as £100 million following a long-running pay dispute.

Around 6,500 staff at Glasgow City Council could share in the windfall after they were paid less than male colleagues despite new wage rules that came into effect in 2007 which were meant to ensure equality.

Men benefited under the system from protections against sharp drops in their wages but it also meant female colleagues did not get paid the same, even after the council made large payouts for an earlier equal pay decision.

The women affected will now go ahead with further claims against the council.

Solicitors for the women accuse the local authority of failing to get its act together in the wake of previous equal pay rulings.

Stefan Cross QC, of Action 4 Equality Scotland, who represents the majority of the women in the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) case, thinks the claims could reach as much as £100m.

He told The Herald: “This particular part of their case has taken nine years to reach this point and we’re obviously delighted for the women that they’ve got further entitlement.

“The new pay structure protected the pay for the men but didn’t do so for women.

“It meant in rough terms that a woman on the same grade as a man could be paid £12,000 a year when the man was being paid £18,000.

“What we’ve effectively been arguing is that the council didn’t learn its lesson the first time round.”

It was held the women were unfairly discriminated against as council pay scales placed men at the top and women at the bottom.

A council spokesman said: “We note that the tribunal has ruled against us in relation to pay protection and assimilation and we are carefully considering our position.”