Council and union resume pay talks

Negotiations over a long-standing equal pay dispute at North Lanarkshire Council have resumed.

Sunday, 29th June 2014, 4:56 am

The council and trade union UNISON have been involved in a lengthy tribunal regarding thousands of employees, almost all of whom are women in lower-paid jobs, who claim to have suffered over several years from a discrepancy in the council’s pay structure.

Last week the council and UNISON released a joint statement confirming talks would resume. UNISON also called off planned protests at Monday’s Queen’s Baton Relay events.

Council leader Jim McCabe said: “I have instructed officers to enter into talks with the claimants’ representatives with a view to progressing negotiation on outstanding equal pay matters.

“This is a positive step forward and there will be further meetings. We have always had a commitment to ensure equality and to seek a mutually agreeable solution where this is appropriate.”

Peter Hunter of UNISON added: “UNISON cautiously welcomes the talks and, while negotiation is always difficult, we are optimistic that we can get agreement.

 “We want two things. Our members have waited too long for the justice they deserve and the current claims should be settled now. However, we must also resolve the differences which gave rise to the claims. So we need the council to adopt measures to ensure fairness and equality for the future and that will be achieved through negotiation rather than litigation.”

The legal representatives of the council and the claimants also welcomed this progress, as did local representatives including local MSP Jamie Hepburn.

The move follows a walkout by opposition councillors in protest at the level of secrecy surrounding previous meetings on this subject.