Council slams lawyers for pay deals delay

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Lawyers acting for a claimant in a North Lanarkshire equal pay case demanded £53,000 when the true value should have been £6,000.

That was the claim from North Lanarkshire Council this week as it sought to defend its handling of a dispute which has had major implications for local female council employees.

The authority yesterday (Tuesday) issued a statement criticising a daily newspaper’s handling of the long-running issue, arguing the dispute could have been settled earlier if claimants’ lawyers had been “reasonable”.

However a daily newspaper has accused the council of “fighting a rearguard action against the inbuilt sexism in their own pay structure for too long.”

It argues tens of thousands of pounds of public money has been “squandered defending the indefensible”.

But the council insists it has acted correctly on equal pay claims.

In a statement its spokesman said: “The council has always sought to settle equal pay claims where settlement is justified.

“To suggest that the council has in any way dragged its feet on this issue is simply untrue”.

The council says its offer to claimants on interest due on their back pay entitlement remains on the table.

Its spokesman added: “Had the level of interest sought by the lawyers for the claimants been reasonable those claims would have been settled a long time ago.

“It appears that this will now take longer than either the claimants or ourselves would have wished.”