The County You Live, Work And Play
SLC Pay Gap
Men working for South Lanarkshire Council are paid on average 16 per cent more than women. The gender pay gap has been slammed by politicians who say the council must make equality a priority – particularly in light of the recent equal pay row which saw the council fork out £70million to 3000 workers.
However, the council denied the issue had anything to do with equal pay and said it had made great progress in promoting women and closing the gender pay gap.
The huge equal pay settlement in February last year related to traditional low-skilled male jobs being paid more than mostly traditional female jobs which had an equal or higher level of skill involved.
The 16 per cent gender pay gap at the council was revealed in a report which went before the council’s Equal Opportunities Forum.
The average wage for a woman working for the council is £19,444 while for a man it is £23,173.
Part-time wages were scaled up to make the comparison fair.
Hamilton MSP Christina McKelvie said: “If you happen to be female and working part-time, then you will almost certainly find that you still get paid proportionally less and that your opportunity to move into a more senior position is drastically reduced.
“I thought that following the long-drawn out class action on this very subject, SLC would have learned its lesson, but apparently not.”
The report show there are much higher numbers of women on lower pay grades and much higher numbers of men on higher pay grades.
Women make up 77.5 per cent of grade one workers while only 22.5 per cent are men.
However at grade six level only 45.83 per cent are women and 54.17 per cent are men.
And senior positions at the council are dominated by men. The chief executive is male and 80 per cent of executive directors are men.
The figures used for the analysis in the report were from March 31, 2014.
The latest figures on the gender pay gap have improved slightly on the previous year’s figures.
In 2013 the gender pay gap was 16.5 per cent and in 2014 it was 16.1 per cent.
Hamilton East MP Angela Crawley, who is also the SNP’s spokesperson for equalities, has also hit out at the figures.
She said: “Forty-five years after the passing of the Equal Pay Act, this week’s report going before South Lanarkshire’s Equal Opportunities Forum makes for depressing reading.
“These figures are truly shocking and it’s one example – alongside women’s representation in parliament and the number of women in senior positions in the workplace – that demonstrates we are a long way off from achieving gender equality.
“Bearing in mind, it was only last year that the council made a payment of £75m to workers – mainly women – over the equal pay scandal.
“It’s time South Lanarkshire Council took note and made equal pay a priority.”
Central Scotland Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell also says the council must make gender equality a priority.
She said: “The issue of equal pay within South Lanarkshire Council is one which clearly has not been resolved.
“Given the intransigence to admit, against all the legal advice to the contrary, that the scheme it had devised was not fit for purpose, I would expect them now to make this latest issue a priority to resolve as soon as possible.”
Paul Manning, executive director of Finance and Corporate Services at South Lanarkshire Council, said: “The gender pay gap has nothing to do with any historic issues over equal pay at South Lanarkshire Council.
“The fact is that women make up most of the lower grade workforce across large parts of both the private and public sectors, and this is an issue that all of society needs to address.
“There is no quick fix, but at South Lanarkshire we are striving to equalise the roles men and women aspire to in the world of work. We are closing the gender pay gap year on year and have a positive and improving picture.
“In 2011 the gap was 23.4 per cent but by challenging traditional thinking about jobs and gender through successful programmes like Delivering a Fairer Future we have narrowed the gap to 16.1 per cent in 2014.
“Indeed, a closer examination of the figures shows that currently in South Lanarkshire part-time women employees are paid 0.7 per cent more than men working part-time.
“Closing the gap further remains a top priority and our hard work continues to do that. It should also be noted that the council pays one of the best Living Wage rates for lower paid people in the country.”
Councillor Gerry Convery, chair of the Finance and Corporate Resources Committee added: “It would be far more useful if politicians helped us achieve our goals in closing the gender gap by supporting and highlighting our initiatives to help lower paid members of society they are elected to represent, rather than resorting to empty rhetoric.”