Council leader’s equal pay pledge to workers

Council leader Rhondda Geekie
Council leader Rhondda Geekie

The leader of East Dunbartonshire Council has promised hundreds of female employees their equal pay claims will be settled within the year.

The council workers, who won the right to backdated pay, are still waiting for their money – 11 YEARS after their initial complaint.

The workers challenged their salary terms when it was revealed men doing similar jobs were paid more.

Council leader Rhondda Geekie said she was committed to prioritising settling historic equal pay claims when she appeared at the council’s annual budget meeting on Thursday, March 17.

Ian Black, director of finance and shared services, told the Herald this week communications were progressing to resolve valid claims.

He said: “As we’ve previously advised, resolving equal pay claims is a complex legal process involving detailed calculations and negotiations with Trade Unions and legal representatives.

“The council leader gave a firm commitment in her budget speech that progress would be made in settling historic equal pay claims during this year.

“Whilst it is not possible to specify when claims will be settled we are progressing communications with relevant parties with a view to 
resolving valid claims as quickly as the process allows.”

The Herald has been highlighting the plight of the women workers - believed to be mainly cleaners, caterers and home carers - in a number of articles over the past 
few years.

In the latest story in the newspaper in November last year, employees hit out at “the long frustrating battle” to 
get the wages legally due to them.

A representative for the women said they had been told in May 2015 offers would be forthcoming.

After waiting for a decade, the angry employee told the Herald: “We were told the council needed a further three months.

“Well, it’s November and we are still waiting. When are we going to get the back pay we are legally entitled to?”

A fellow worker added: “In 2005 we initiated equal pay claims against the council and to date we are still 
awaiting settlement.

“Our lawyer has been in long-standing talks with the council - they have chased up the offers repeatedly.

“This is proving a long, frustrating battle with the council.

“We know the council were to borrow £2.9 million to settle but apparently didn’t take up the offer of the loan.

“Then we were told money had been set aside to settle. This is money we as employees are entitled to but are struggling to get this repaid to us.”