The 2019 General Election Labour Party in Scotland branch office issued a manifesto for government
It contained a commitment that a Labour party in government would end zero-hours and “bogus” self-employment contracts and require employers to work on tackling the gender pay gap or face heavy fines.
But Leader Richard Leonard had no authority to promise or do anything since he was required to comply with instructions of the Labour Party leadership in London and any failing on his part would bring about a speedy end. to his tenure of office.
His commitment to end zero-hours contracts was cynical in the extreme based on his Union’s prolonged attacks on the welfare and pay of women in the employ of Labour controlled councils in the West of Scotland .
Short term employment contracts
Yet another embarrassment was an attack by Ed Milliband on the Con/Dem government over the issue of zero-hours contracts and his solemn promise that the next Labour government would bring an immediate end to the practice. But the strategy was speedily binned when it was revealed that 68 Labour MPs (Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray) employed staff on short term contracts!!! So much for the Labour Party sticking up for exploited workers.
Equal Pay for all employees in Public Service
The equal pay policy commitment was another Labour party joke which was sprung on Scottish workers by the very people they elected, (the Unions) to protect their rights at work.
In Glasgow, from 2007, female workers were denied equal pay with male workers. Their GMB union (led by Richard Leonard) and Labour Party Glasgow City Councillors pressurized them into accepting low settlements by offering them cheques for a few thousand pounds just before Christmas so long as they signed quickly. And many signed away their rights.
But a substantial number held out against the injustice and ill judged advice from the the GMB and took their fight for justice to Action 4 Equality which was owned by Solicitor Stefan Cross. In doing so they had to wait a very long time but were awarded far greater settlement sums than the women who had taken the advice of the GMB. And not only did Cross take on and beat Glasgow City Council, he also sued the Unions for failing to properly represent their female members. Cross was the women’s hero. One said: “I will have to give him 10 per cent but he deserves it. He stuck with us when the unions couldn’t be bothered.”
The incident, which took over 13 years and many court appearances to resolve revealed the duplicity of the Unions who supported the illegal policies of their Labour Party Councillor colleagues assisting their efforts to deny women workers a fair wage.
The election of the SNP to the control of the Glasgow City Council brought an end to the sorry saga when the council accepted all of the recommendation’s of the court and paid the women the money they had been denied for so long. And Leonard claimed his undying love and support of the women.
Jun 2017: The Labour/Tory Alliance of North Lanarkshire Council was forced by the courts to pay pension costs of hundreds of women it underpaid
Not to be outdone by their Party colleagues in Glasgow the Council set about screwing their female staff out of their pensions. Yet again the Unions and the Labour party were complicit in heinous acts against women employees. As events unfolded it became evident that the Council would incur a £1million bill after systematically ducking its pension responsibilities to hundreds of female staff it had previously denied equal pay.
The Council was ordered to cough up after a Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) investigation found it had systematically tried to “obstruct” a fair deal for almost 700 women who had been underpaid for many years earning wages much lower than their male colleagues doing jobs of equivalent worth.
In 2018, after a tribunal forced the authority to award the women their back-pay they negotiated another settlement worth a further £7.1m, after being represented by Stephan Cross. There was no support for staff from the Unions.
The agreed final salary pensions remained below those of their male counterparts, as their contributions had been much lower due to their underpay and the women appealed the judgement.
It was then identified that local government pension regulations required all back pay awards to be treated as “pensionable”, meaning bigger pensions and bigger lump sums for those affected.
The change required the Council to top up their employer contributions to pension funds. However in February, North Lanarkshire once again tried to sidestep its duties to the Strathclyde Pension Fund, which covers the female staff, by claiming the women’s second round of back-pay was actually a form of negotiated “compensation” and therefore not pensionable.
The women’s lawyers appealed to the SPPA pointing out the potential differences would be profound if the back-pay was not made pensionable. Some of the North Lanarkshire women would be denied a pension rise of £1500 a year and lump sums of more than £4000, a lifetime difference of around £50,000.
The SPPA ruled that the council had “misconstrued” the law, and criticised its arguments as “confused and an obstruction to finding an equitable solution to the disagreement” and said that the council had to pay the income tax and national insurance on the second wave of back-pay as well as employer contributions, an estimated total of £1m.