Glasgow struggle shows how far we are from pay equality

Denise Phillips
Denise Phillips

Delegates at Local Government Conference slammed the lack of progress on equal pay despite UK and EU legislation and UNISON’s campaigning and pledged to continue the struggle to achieve equal pay across local government.

Speaking in support of the NJC Local Government Committee motion, Denise Phillips, a Glasgow Home Care steward told conference of their fight for equal pay, which has resulted in a resounding 98% vote for strike action on a 64% turn-out.

Denise said that the grading system originally used was not equality tested until the highest court in Scotland, the Court of Session, declared in 2017 that it was not fit for purpose.

“Far from tackling Equal Pay, the pay gap between 2006 and 2017 got worse in Glasgow, affecting many female dominated jobs like home carers, cleaners, catering and admin workers, and members of the educational team.

“Our employer, Cordia, which had been created by Glasgow City Council to avoid any further equal pay claims then started attacking our terms and conditions.

“All of these cuts were targeted at female dominated occupational groups and they thought they could get away with it because they created an arms-length company,” slammed Denise.

However the union fought this, challenging the legal status of Cordia so that legally it remained part of the council responsibility. At the same time the union organised, recruiting members and stewards.

“Now not only do we have a legal challenge, but our members are at the forefront of the fight for equal pay, city protests and demonstrations,” said Denise.

The strike vote has sent a “red card to Glasgow City Council that we wanted action and a deadline that would be delivered. No more delay on Equal Pay.”

“We are determined to get our just compensation, a new, fair and equal pay and grading system,” said Denise commending the measures in the motion which could have ensured that justice and equality was delivered far sooner.

“Our branch has built a strong and united campaign. The 12 years of inequality has been caused by the council. So it won’t be our members who pay for that. They won’t be robbing Peter to pay Pauline. That’s why we are demanding not just equal pay but pay justice for all our members.”

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