The County You Live, Work And Play
Tribunal Rules In Workers Favour
More than 3000 low-paid female workers are celebrating - after they are set to share millions of pounds in a long-running equal pay claim against North Lanarkshire Council.
Many of the women are clerical assistants, classroom assistants, and other non-manual workers and are now a step closer to getting the money they are owed by the local auhtority.
It comes after a tribunal in Glasgow ruled that the council should pay out the eight per cent interest on top of the money owed. The council failed in their bid to get the interest reduced to four per cent on the back dated claims.
Some women have been waiting 10 years for the payout.
Carol Fox, of Fox and Partners, who represent 300 of the women, said: “We are really delighted to have a further decision in favour of our claimants. We expected to win on interest and hope that all councils with outstanding equal pay cases will now think very carefully about continuing to defend this litigation.
“In summer 2015, many of these cases will reach their 10th anniversary. For the past decade, women have fought a determined struggle for justice and equality in the face of opposition, obstruction and deliberate tactics employed to delay cases. We are now in the final phase of these equal pay cases and we call upon every local authority in Scotland to ensure that claimants now receive settlements without further delay.”
Other claimants are being represented by UNISON.
Peter Hunter, UNISON Scotland’s legal officer, said: “We are very pleased with the tribunal’s decision. The legal action against the council has been dragging on for more than nine years.
“Interest rates are at historic low and the judicial law says that the council most pay eight per cent. It has been a foolish and scandalous decision from the council not to settle these pay claims earlier.
"The council put forward a case that the existing rate of judicial interest at eight per cent was unfair and would result in them suffering “injustice”.
But Judge Frances Eccles said the tribunal did not have the power to vary the rate of interest to be awarded. Many of the claimants were delighted with the decision and said had the council settled years ago it would have cost them a lot less.
The tribunal ruled that the women wouldn’t be compensated for “injury to feelings” caused by the unequal pay.
A council spokesman said: “The tribunal judgment deals with complex legal issues and needs to be studied in detail.
“The council are pleased the judge has ruled in their favour on the question of compensation for injury to feelings, in which claimants’ representatives attempted, unsuccessfully, to overturn established legal precedents.
“The council recognise that the employment judge has not accepted their argument here.”