North Lanarkshire Council statement on equal pay
A number of statements, many of them misleading, have been made publicly in recent weeks in relation to equal pay.
The council wishes to clarify its position in relation to a number of points on the issue.
Firstly, it would be wholly misleading to suggest that North Lanarkshire Council has in any way been ‘dragging its feet’ in relation to equal pay.
The council has settled or agreed to settle around 6000 cases to date to the value of £38million.
These cases are commonly known as ‘first wave’ cases comprising equal value and rated as equivalent claims.
It has also been stated that North Lanarkshire Council is behind other councils in settling ‘second wave’ claims, which comprise challenges to the application of job evaluation and to the protection of pay.
This is simply untrue. Many councils have not settled these second wave claims.
Currently, the council is participating in a tribunal hearing in respect of these claims.
Lawyers for some claimants have suggested that the council conceded earlier this year on a number of points relating to some jobs and should therefore settle all claims now. The true position is that the council did concede on three categories of job that parts of the job evaluation were incorrectly applied. However, the remainder of the cases are still being considered.
There has been some comment in relation to the Policy and Resources Committee meeting of Thursday June 5, particularly that the item on equal pay was ‘secret’ and heard with press and public excluded.
The reason for this is that the report contained legally privileged material. It is normal for any item containing such material to be heard in private. However, the councillors who stayed for this item were given a full update and were able to ask detailed questions.
The council reaffirmed its commitment to dealing with equal pay issues, taking the same approach as previously adopted in settling claims where that was justified.
The committee also reaffirmed its determination to continue to act in the best interests of the council, its employees and the public purse in relation to the issue of equal pay.
Councillor Jim Smith, depute leader of North Lanarkshire Council, said: “To suggest that this council is somehow dragging its heels over equal pay is nonsense, given that we have paid out more than £38 million to thousands of people to this point.
“Despite the posturing of others we will continue to deal with this issue responsibly. We have a proud history of paying claims where they are justified and I am sure that will continue to be the case.
“This is a complicated area of the law, and I understand people’s frustration. But the kind of mischief-making that is going on just now helps nobody, least of all the claimants and our staff.”