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Delays Over Equal Pay Settlement
Low-paid South Lanarkshire Council workers waiting on a multi-million pound equal pay settlement from their employer are angry at further delays in their payments.
The 1200, mostly female workers, represented by union UNISON were told via Facebook that there were “some issues with some of the claims” which had to be discussed with council lawyers.
This has created considerable frustration among some as the workers had expected offers from South Lanarkshire Council to be made in January or February this year, and many submitted their claims years ago.
The equal pay settlements relate to traditional low-skilled male jobs being paid more than traditional female jobs which have an equal or higher level of skill involved.
Around 3000 workers represented by solicitors Fox and Partners, Stefan Cross QC and Action 4 Equality Scotland Ltd already had their claims settled at a cost of £70 million in February last year.
UNISON claims will not be settled on the same basis as the Fox and Cross claims, with the total likely to be millions rather than tens of millions.
Roseleen McGill from Bothwell was a home care for 33 years and has been waiting for more than five years for her settlement.
She said: “I think I was one of the first to put a claim in.
“It’s getting frustrating now. We want to know where the hold-ups are coming from.
“It’s the principle of it. People are getting upset and want their money.”
One of her home care colleagues, who did not want to be named said, "I do not understand why the “issues” alluded to by UNISON were not ironed out earlier.
She said: “We were told our offers would be in by end of January or February, then March at the latest.
“Now we are going into April and they are not doing anything about getting our money.
“They say they have to go through and check people have genuine cases.
“Some people have been waiting on claims for five or six years – why could that not have been done earlier?
“We asked if they could settle our claims, which had been in for a long time first. But they said they wanted to deal with it all at once.
“It’s upsetting people because no-one seems to be bothering about it.”
UNISON say around 1000 of the cases arrived late in the day and this is the reason for the delay.
They expect to have it sorted within weeks.
A UNISON spokesperson said: “There was an arrival of 1000 claims at a later stage in the negotiations. It just created a huge volume of additional work.
“We fully understand the frustration especially of those who put in their cases some time ago.
“It has been a frustrating process we’re coming to the conclusion of and it should be concluded within a matter of weeks.”
Paul Manning, executive director of finance and corporate resources at South Lanarkshire Council, added: “We are grateful for claimants’ patience as we work with their representatives towards a conclusion in this matter.
“It is worth noting that most of the claims are relatively new, having only been made after last year’s settlement with those represented by Fox and Partners.
“I’m sure everyone understands that this is a complex matter, and that a good many details about every claimant need to be checked and verified by all parties, including claimants’ representatives.
“Progress continues to be made and we will provide further information as soon as we can.”