Union bosses are demanding a meeting with the leader of Dundee City Council to discuss what they called a “mess” surrounding equal pay for women.
Members of the GMB Scotland union have submitted an equal pay claim over the local authority’s “discriminatory” policies, including those around bonuses.
They argue council employees in jobs mostly filled by men, such as building and maintenance, receive “higher bonuses and enhancements” than other positions with a largely female workforce, such as cooks and cleaners.
The pay dispute potentially affects thousands of staff members. Many could have lost thousands from their pay packets due to the “discriminatory” agreements, organisers claim.
Staff affected include those working for council offshoots Tayside Contracts and Leisure and Culture Dundee.
The city council has said it is “engaging” with the union in relation to the tens of thousands of employees potentially affected.
But GMB bosses refute this and have called on council leader John Alexander to step in.
In a letter to Mr Alexander GMB Scotland regional organiser Helen Meldrum said: “GMB Scotland were very pleased to read your posts on social media about your commitment to cleaning up the current pay discrimination ‘mess’.
“We had asked you in previous correspondence whether you would intervene to ensure that pay justice is delivered for our members and we are pleased to read of your commitment to, we assume, end the long-standing discriminatory pay schemes and compensate our members.
“At the time of writing, GMB has been concerned over the lack of clear process.”
Ms Meldrum said the union were pursuing four objectives:
- Compensation for lost earnings as a result of the discriminatory bonus scheme
- Ending discriminatory pay policies
- Proper valuation of all employees’ work through a thorough job re-evaluation process
- Pay justice for women by raising standards, not by cutting pay or services.
She said further in the letter: “We continue to be committed to dialogue with Dundee City Council in order to reach a positive outcome for our members.
“In that spirit, we would be grateful if you would meet with GMB Scotland to discuss the ongoing pay discrimination issue and how we might move forward.
“The ongoing process will not end discriminatory practices unless it faces up to the unlawful bonus schemes and creates a roadmap for settlement with women members and delivering pay justice across the council and associated employers.”
Mr Alexander said he had communicated with the GMB over the issues in February.
He said: “Given that the most recent letter only arrived within the last 48 hours, I intend to respond in due course.
“The discussion on this matter is going through the correct procedure and officers are engaging with all trade unions.
“Given the early stage, it would be totally inappropriate for politicians to involve themselves before there is any detail.
“A tribunal is a legal process.
“That said, I do wish to see the matter brought to a satisfactory conclusion and hope that the constructive work with trade unions will deliver that outcome.”