The 2019 GE Labour Manifesto
Contains a commitment that a Labour party in government will:
End zero-hours contracts and “bogus” self-employment.
Require employers to work on tackling the gender pay gap or face fines.
But Richard Leonard has no authority to do anything. He must comply with the instructions of the Labour Party leadership in London. Any failing on his part will bring about his speedy end.
And, in regard to his commitment to end zero-hours contracts he is remiss in his recollections of recent past events.
In April 2015 Ed Milliband attacked the Con/Dem government over the issue of zero-hours contracts and promised the next Labour government would bring an immediate end to the practice.
But his strategy failed when it was revealed that 68 Labour MPs Employed Staff on Them? So much for the Labour Party sticking up for ordinary workers who are being exploited.
This is what he said:
“Less than a week ago, you may have heard the Prime Minister say that he couldn’t live on a zero-hours contract. Well, I couldn’t live on a zero-hours contract either. I’ve got a simple principle – if it is not good enough for us, it’s not good enough for you and it’s not good enough for Britain. “That’s the way I will run our country. One rule for all.”
But there was one small problem for Milliband. It was revealed by the pay and expenses watchdog IPSA that a large number of Labour MPs (68 in total, including Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray) employed workers on “zero-hours” contracts.
The equal pay policy commitment is most certainly yet another Labour party joke, to be pulled on Scottish workers by the very people they elect, the Unions, to protect their rights at work.
In Glasgow, women involved in the pre-2007 pay claims recall how the GMB union and the Labour Party council pressurized them into accepting low settlements by offering them cheques for a few thousand pounds just before Christmas so long as they signed quickly. Many signed.
But many more held out against the injustice and badly judged advice from their Unions and took their cases to another source of advice. Namely, Action 4 Equality – Scotland managed by Solicitor Stefan Cross.
In doing so they had to wait longer but received far greater settlement sums. Not only did Cross take on Glasgow District Council, but he also sued the unions for failing to properly represent their female members, forcing them to up their game.
In so doing, he made himself hugely unpopular and many still regard him as an ambulance-chaser who got rich off the back of driving English councils to the brink of disaster.
To the women, however, he is a hero, which explains why Cross retained 80 per cent of the claimants. “I will have to give him 10 per cent of the payout, but he deserves it,” one woman tells me. “He stuck with us when the unions couldn’t be bothered.”
It reveals the duplicity of the Unions who unconditionally supported the policies of their Labour Party Councillor colleagues assisting their efforts to deny women workers a fair wage.
12 Jun 2017: North Lanarkshire Labour/Tory Alliance Council forced to pay pension costs of hundreds of women it underpaid
And, not to be outdone the North Lanarkshire Labour/Tory 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 Labour/Tory Alliance run Council would incur a £1million bill after systematically ducking its pension responsibilities to hundreds of female staff it previously tried to squeeze out of equal pay.
The Council was ordered to cough up after a Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) investigation found it tried to “obstruct” a fair deal for almost 700 women who were systematically underpaid for years by the council, earning lower wages than male colleagues doing jobs of equivalent worth.
Last year, after initially forcing the authority to give them back-pay through a tribunal, they reached a second negotiated settlement worth a further £7.1m, after being represented by equal pay experts Action 4 Equality Scotland, (note the absence of Union support).
However, their final salary pension deals remained below those of male counterparts, as their contributions were lower while they were underpaid.
According to recent local government pension regulations, all back-pay must 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 in March, 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 has now ruled the council “misconstrued” the law, and criticised its arguments as “confused and an obstruction to finding an equitable solution to the disagreement”.
It said the council must pay the income tax and national insurance on the second wave of back-pay as well as employer contributions, an estimated total of £1m.