UNISON welcomes South Ayrshire equal pay settlement

Date: Wed 23 January 2013

Local government union UNISON is today celebrating a historic equal pay settlement for hundreds of council staff in South Ayrshire. The deal finalised this week will be worth thousands of pounds for some of the lowest paid staff, mainly women, in manual, admin, clerical and support jobs.

Renee Gillan, UNISON South Ayrshire Branch Secretary, said:
“We are absolutely delighted with this fantastic news for hundreds of workers who have faced pay discrimination for many years and who will now receive substantial compensation. This win will make a massive difference to everyone who has been involved in this campaign.”

The South Ayrshire deal settles more than 500 claims which were lodged in 2006. These had been subject to legal challenge by the Council on a technicality which ultimately failed at the Court of Session. A planned appeal by the Council to the Supreme Court is being put on hold as part of the settlement deal.

Joe Lynch, Regional Organiser, said:
“UNISON is proud to stand up for the principle of ‘equal pay for work of equal value’. We have had to fight this through the courts – which has taken a long time – but today’s settlement means we have won on that principle.

“This victory shows once again that workers are stronger together in UNISON.”

For further information please contact:
Joe Lynch, Regional Organiser, 0141 342 2843
Renee Gillan, South Ayrshire branch secretary, 01292 261315
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer, UNISON Scotland, 0141 342 2877 or 078765 66978
Fiona Montgomery, Communications Officer, UNISON Scotland, 0141 342 2877 or 07508 877000

Notes for editors

1. UNISON is Scotland’s largest trade union representing 160,000 members working mainly in the public sector in Scotland and represents staff in all of Scotland’s local authorities.

2. The equal pay claims were brought mainly by female staff who were claiming that their work was of equal value to male manual workers who received a bonus. The Council argued that the female employees had not complied with necessary procedural steps so the claims were invalid. The UNISON claimants won the point at the Employment Tribunal and the Court of Session. The Council had appealed to the Supreme Court, but that appeal will now be put on hold pending the settlement of the individual claims..