- 2005 Local Government Service Group Conference
- 19 June 2005
Conference deplores the fact that almost 30 years after the Equal Pay Act there continues to be a gap between full-time men and part-time women’s pay in local government of 42% and an overall gender pay gap of 19%. 80% of councils across the UK still need to implement new pay structures and deliver equal pay under Single Status.
The gender pay gap has been comprehensively measured and analysed and whilst its causes are complex they can be attributed to three main factors, discrimination in pay systems, occupational segregation and family responsibilities, including access to affordable childcare. Inequality pervades all pay issues to the extent that the low pay earned by women earns them even less pension when they retire.
Conference welcomes the work done by the Local Government Service Group in negotiating the National Joint Council 2004 settlement which commits all councils to making substantial progress on pay and grading reviews by April 2006 and to completing these by April 2007 or face ‘assisted bargaining’. Conference notes that this also committed the NJC to developing joint advice on equal pay. Conference also recognises the Scottish Local Government Committee’s actions in pursuing employers in Scottish local authorities through negotiation and the threat of litigation to ensure equal pay is achieved for all our members throughout Scottish Local Government
Conference also welcomes the advice issued to Branches which reinforces the union’s strategy of securing equal pay through collective bargaining. Where this has been slow to achieve or where the employer has refused to negotiate UNISON has also pursued claims through Employment Tribunals.
Conference also recognises the Scottish Local Government Committee’s actions in pursuing employers in Scottish local authorities through negotiation and the threat of litigation to ensure equal pay is achieved for all our members throughout Scottish Local Government
Conference is however concerned that some councils have sought to impose new pay structures which result in pay cuts for many, particularly ex-bonus earners and this is in conflict with the understanding on which members across UNISON voted for Single Status – i.e. ‘that many should gain and none should lose’. Conference acknowledges the huge financial pressure on already stretched local government funding. The Costs of Single Status, increased pension contributions and meeting the costs of Equal Value claims mean that councils are cutting jobs, attacking Part 3 conditions, lowering the payline instead of ‘levelling up’, minimising protection agreements and outsourcing services. The efficiency reviews will lead to even less funding being available. Conference notes that this is not in keeping with other departments such as the Department of Health where funding has been provided for Agenda for Change.
Conference believes that the issue of unequal pay needs to be addressed urgently through the implementation of job evaluation, pay and grading reviews and legal action where necessary and that increased funding will need to be made available to introduce new pay structures which are fair to all members.
We therefore call upon the Service Group Executive to:
1)Develop a National Campaign for additional funding from UK Governments and Scottish Executive to facilitate new pay structures in local government and deliver equal pay for men and women. This campaign should include:
a)Raising our concerns with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and First Minister.
b)Making representations to the Local Government Association at national and regional level.
c)Briefing the UNISON group of Labour MPs and MSPs on funding difficulties via the Labour Link Committee
2)Issue further advice to underpin the terms of the 3 year pay deal in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the 2 year pay deal in Scotland and assist Branches and Regions to implement them.
3)Collect data from all Local Authorities on the cost to individual authorities
4)Organise a workshop based conference to enable Branches and Regions to share experiences and best practice on the funding and implementation of the Single Status Agreement. Relevant MPs, MSPs and Ministers should be invited to this Conference
5)Ensure that regional officials are able to provide technical advice and support on equal pay issues, job evaluation and pay and grading reviews to Branches
6)Publicise UNISON training courses in equal pay, the NJC and SJC scheme and job evaluation
7)Resist all attempts by councils to impose new pay arrangements and support branches involved in such disputes
8)Ensure UNISON’s national policy of ‘levelling up’ pay is widely publicised amongst councils
9)Support Tribunal claims where councils fail to take any appropriate action on equal pay within the terms of reference of the pay deal or impose deals without consultation, in accordance with the agreed UNISON protocol for such claims
10)Continue to argue for funds for training and career development to further reduce the pay gender gap by developing skills pathways
11)Implement other measures in the Local Government Pay Commission report such as action on equality for part-time and term-time workers
12)Ensure all pay audits include race, disability and part-time status
13)Support industrial action approved under UNISON procedures where it is necessary to pursue UNISON’s policy on securing equal pay and Single Status.