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Scottish Labour Backs Call on Equal Pay

Monday, November 2, 2015

Scottish Labour Party Conference Backs GMB Scotland Motion Calling On Labour Led Councils To Settle Equal Pay Claims Without Delay

Labour led councils must step up to their political, moral and legal responsibility and settle all outstanding claims as a matter of renewed urgency says GMB Scotland

The Scottish Labour Party Conference in Perth over the weekend supported a motion from GMB Scotland calling on Labour led councils to step up to their political and moral as well as their legal responsibility and settle all outstanding claims as a matter of renewed urgency. See notes to editors for text of motion.

Annette Drylie, GMB delegate at the Conference moving the motion, said “Why is it 45 years after the Equal Pay Act that the lowest paid women workers in Scottish local government, many of them scrimping and saving on part-time and term time hours are the ones facing the full force of the legal establishment and every trick in its book to deny them equality.

And worse still, why is it Labour run Councils that are instructing Queens Counsels to do it.

Don’t get me wrong. Some Labour-led councils have done the right thing and settled up.

But I say to this Scottish Labour Party Conference the resistance of Labour-led councils in paying up is nothing short of shameful.

But we call on this Conference to send a very clear message to these Labour-led councils.  Step up to your political, moral and legal responsibilities. Stop hiding behind your officials. Stop wasting council tax-payers money on delaying tactics and legal chicanery.

Settle all outstanding claims as a matter of urgency. Basically, step up, man up and pay up!”

End

Contact: Richard Leonard 07703 465447 or 0141 332 8641 or GMB Press Office on 07921 289880 or 07974 251823.

Notes to editors

1 text of the motion:

SCOTTISH LABOUR PARTY CONFERENCE 2015 - GMB SCOTLAND CONTEMPORARY MOTION

EQUAL PAY

That this Conference recognises that Labour in power delivered landmark legislation like the Equal Pay Act, the Sex Discrimination Act, equal pay for work of equal value and more recent measures like the Public Sector Equality duty.

Conference remains concerned that the 2014 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) shows according to the Close the Gap campaign a gender pay gap of 11.5% between male and female full-time earnings in Scotland and a gap of 32.4% between male full time and female part time earnings in Scotland today.

Conference is especially concerned that the long running battle to win equal pay for work of equal value for low paid women workers in Scottish local government is still unfinished business.

Not least where Labour is in power in these Scottish local authorities we expect that instead of resorting to obstruction, obfuscation and litigation, those Councils must step up to their political and moral as well as their legal responsibility and settle all outstanding claims as a matter of renewed urgency.

Text of speech by Annette Drylie GMB delegate at the Conference moving the motion:

I'm not going to stand here and preach the morals of Equal Pay. I was 6 years old when the Equal Pay Act came into force, one of the most inspired piece of legislation that was delivered by a Labour Government.

We should not forget that it is and has always been Labour in power that has led the way on legislating for Equal Pay.

From the Ford workers and Barbara Castle in 1970 to public sector equality duties under the last Labour led Scottish Parliament.

It is and has always been the industrial wing of this movement driving on the political wing that has got us on the right side of the argument.

So why is it 45 years after the Equal Pay Act that in so many Scottish local authorities in 2015 we are on the wrong side of the argument?

Why is it 45 years after the Equal Pay Act that the lowest paid women workers in Scottish local government, many of them scrimping and saving on part-time and term time hours are the ones facing the full force of the legal establishment and every trick in its book to deny them equality.

And worse still, why is it Labour run Councils that are instructing Queens Counsels to do it.

Don’t get me wrong. Some Labour-led councils have done the right thing and settled up. Some SNP Councils are obstructing this demand for justice as well.

But I say to this Scottish Labour Party Conference the resistance of Labour-led councils in paying up is nothing short of shameful.

We expect better from them, so much so that the GMB for one is reviewing where we give our political and financial support, based on Labour’s track record on this litmus test issue.

We also urge other affiliates to reconsider their position on this also.

But we call on this Conference to send a very clear message to these Labour-led councils.  Step up to your political, moral and legal responsibilities. Stop hiding behind your officials. Stop wasting council tax-payers money on delaying tactics and legal chicanery.

Settle all outstanding claims as a matter of urgency. Basically, step up, man up and pay up!

 

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