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Equal  Pay cases v North Lanarkshire Council – update 2nd June 2014

North Lanarkshire Council refuse to engage in discussions with ACAS

 2nd wave case and Home Support Workers

Further to our update letter below (posted recently on 30th May 2014) we wish to bring our claimants in North Lanarkshire Council up to date with recent developments. We are gravely concerned and very disappointed that the Council have refused to engage with ACAS.

Despite making a major concession at the Glasgow Employment Tribunal on 10th March 2014 affecting all Home Support Worker posts the Council refuse to speak to us or to ACAS. There was an article in the Sunday Herald newspaper yesterday www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/council-under-fire-for-dragging-out-equal-pay-dispute and the local papers have been in touch with us today. We have also been contacted by local Councillors and MSPs who are questioning who is in charge at the Council and who took the decision to refuse to enter discussions with ACAS.

You have the right to go to your local Councillor, your MP and your MSP to express your frustration at the present situation. We are astounded that the Council have refused to engage in discussions via ACAS and that they wish to use more tax payers money to continue employment tribunal proceedings instead of seeking constructive settlement. Please attend the surgeries of your elected representatives to ensure that they are held accountable for these decisions. We will keep you advised of any further developments.

First wave EV cases

There is a first wave EV hearing on 19th June 2014 addressing all of our outstanding first wave cases for former APT& C claimants such as Clerical Assistants and Classroom Assistants. We are undertaking preparation for this initial hearing which will set a timetable for future hearings. Please keep visiting our website for further updates following this hearing.

We appreciate your continued patience and cooperation.

Regards

Carol Fox

UPDATE – 30/5/2014

Equal pay case v North Lanarkshire Council

2nd wave cases under Red Book and re-evaluation in 2006

Update letter dated 23rd May, 2014

We update you  further to the above proceedings.  As you will be aware there is a long running 2nd wave hearing taking place in the Glasgow Employment Tribunal to address your period of claim after the implementation of the Council’s Job Evaluation Scheme in 2006 under the Red Book.

These cases are known as 2nd wave cases as most claimants have settled the first wave period up to January 2007. This hearing will restart on 4th August 2014 with dates up to 5th September 2014. Please check our website as these dates can be subject to change at short notice. (www.foxandpartners.co.uk)

Concession

At the hearing on 10th March 2014 the Council made an important legal concession and told the Employment Judge that they cannot defend their evaluations in relation to Home Support Workers,( HSW1 and HSW2), Playground Supervisors and School Crossing Patrollers. This means that the grades of all employees in these posts may be incorrect and we believe that these posts should be immediately re-evaluated under the Red Book.

We have called upon the Council to take immediate action as we do not believe that employees in these posts are receiving the correct pay. So far the Council has refused to respond. While we continue to pursue your equal pay case with our expert legal team we also urge you to make representations to your local elected representatives such as your Councillor, your MP and your MSPs as we believe the Council could resolve your case now without wasting more tax payers’ money. We will continue to press the Council to work with us and our legal experts to undertake an interim re-evaluation of these particular posts as we believe that you are contractually entitled to be evaluated under the Red Book.

If the Council does not agree to re-evaluate these posts now then we will need to consider all options including further ET procedure.

Local re-grading agreement

Despite the above developments and the recent concessions we have been told that a number of claimants have received letters about a previous local re-grading agreement for Home Support Workers. In the present circumstances you should not sign any paperwork which may affect your on-going equal pay case and your present pay grade.

We set out below the reasons why you should not sign:

1. We believe that the re-grading in 2013 is not a proper evaluation;

2. We understand that the HSW 3 is also on wrong grade so grade 3 is still wrong;

3. The Council have stated to the Tribunal that the re-grading was always wrong so we believe that grades and backdated pay should go back to 2006 / 2007

4. Any back pay which you may be due should be for all these years from 2007 until 2014 with increments and interest;

5. The Council agree that the job of HSWs has got harder so your score may be even higher;

6. The Council have admitted that they got more than one factor in the job evaluation wrong;

7. We believe that the Council are seeking to mislead and delay matters.

Instead of signing now you should write to the Council stating that you need more time to consider matters carefully and to take advice.  We have already posted this advice on our website and we have received a large number of letters for your files. It is very important that you do not sign any documents without seeking advice. We are meeting with our QC Daphne Romney and our legal team next month to review any further preparation which may be required before the hearing restarts in August. Please keep visiting our website for regular updates.

ACAS

We can advise you that we have raised our concerns with ACAS who can intervene in collective disputes. We have explained that despite making a substantial concession at the Employment Tribunal on 10th March 2014 the Council remains unwilling to enter local discussions with us about the incorrect evaluations for over 1,000 claimants. We are pleased to tell you that ACAS have agreed to intervene and we have requested an urgent meeting with the Chief Executive and the Leader of North Lanarkshire Council as soon as possible. We will keep you advised of developments with the intervention of ACAS.

On-going PH – 2nd wave cases

There are further dates in the diary to address the remaining evaluations of posts not subject to the recent concession. We will post regular updates regarding any further developments. The Hearing is open to the public and we would encourage you to attend to see all the legal work we are undertaking on your behalf. You do not need to stay for the whole day, the tribunal normally sits from 10am until 1pm and then from 2pm – 4pm. All dates are posted on our website (www.foxandpartners.co.uk) but please be aware that these dates can change at short notice.

You may be aware from recent press coverage that we have reached full and final settlement with the next door local Authority, South Lanarkshire Council. We are pressing North Lanarkshire Council to engage with us in reasonable settlement discussions rather than prolong these legal proceedings. If you wish to raise your concerns with your elected representatives this may bring the Council to the table for discussions.

Please also note that it is still possible for new claims to be lodged so you may wish to advise your colleagues that there have been adverts in the local press and a number of local meetings.

In the meantime please be assured that we are doing everything possible on your behalf to bring your case to a successful conclusion as soon as possible.

Carol Fox

Solicitor and Director

Fox and Partners