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Tens of thousands of equal pay claims still outstanding

16 Sep 2012

Councils across Scotland still have more than 32,000 outstanding equal pay claims to deal with, figures have shown.

Local authorities have already spent more than £4 million fighting various cases, while 3500 new claims were made in the last 18 months alone.

The statistics, obtained by the Scottish Conservatives through Freedom of Information, show the sheer scale and cost of the failure to deal with equality claims.

Since 2008, there have been 26,839 claims settled by local authority employees, but a further 32,553 remain outstanding.

Scottish Conservative local government spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell MSP said:

“It is quite simply not sustainable that Scotland’s councils are continuing the scandal of spending such enormous sums of money delaying the legitimate settlement of equal pay claims.

“Local authorities should be facing up to this and negotiating a solution, not spending millions booting the matter into the long grass.

“It has been evident for many years now that this is an issue which must be addressed, yet five years on there are more outstanding claims than settled ones.

“Quite simply the issue of equal pay is still a ticking time bomb in Scotland’s local authorities with some recording a significant increase in the number of claims made every year.

“Furthermore the costs of defending these cases are huge, and in my own region of Central Scotland, South Lanarkshire Council – who are appealing the tribunal ruling made in June in their seven-year equal pay fight – has spent more than £300,000 on consultant and legal fees in the last four years.

“Examples like that reveal that huge  sums of public money, which could  be spent on local services, are instead being squandered in a futile and unjustified fight to deny thousands of  people the wage they deserve and are fully entitled to receive.”

Notes to Editors

See below a regional breakdown of figures:

Number of claims settled since 2008:

Aberdeen – 606
Aberdeenshire – 478
Angus – 9
Argyll and Bute – 409
Clackmannanshire – 315
Dumfries and Galloway – 67
Dundee – 170
East Ayrshire – 88
East Dunbartonshire – 46
East Lothian – 35
East Renfrewshire – 422
Edinburgh – 2479
Falkirk – 969
Fife – 1449
Glasgow – 9023
Highland – 2055
Inverclyde – 373
Midlothian – 450
Moray – 15
North Ayrshire – 509
North Lanarkshire – 3842
Orkney – 0
Perth and Kinross – 10
Renfrewshire – 553
Scottish Borders – 11
Shetland – 8
South Ayrshire – 778
South Lanarkshire – 945
Stirling – 150
West Dunbartonshire – 209
West Lothian – 276
Western Isles – 89

Total – 26,838

Number of claims which remain outstanding:

Aberdeen – 435
Aberdeenshire – 942
Angus – 2
Argyll and Bute – 216
Clackmannanshire – 146
Dumfries and Galloway – 63
Dundee – 179
East Ayrshire – 1424
East Dunbartonshire – 497
East Lothian – 76
East Renfrewshire – 552
Edinburgh – 2219
Falkirk – 966
Fife – 2194
Glasgow – 8297
Highland – 2264
Inverclyde – 373
Midlothian – 471
Moray – 38
North Ayrshire – 545
North Lanarkshire – 5043
Orkney – 0
Perth and Kinross – 233
Renfrewshire – 697
Scottish Borders – 48
Shetland – 4
South Ayrshire – 1252
South Lanarkshire – 2458
Stirling – 164
West Dunbartonshire – 292
West Lothian – 382
Western Isles – 81

Total – 32,553

Total spent on legal, consultancy and other fees to deal with equal pay claims:

Aberdeen – £0
Aberdeenshire – £83,688
Angus – £19,559
Argyll and Bute – £146,854
Clackmannanshire – £158,624
Dumfries and Galloway – £88,508
Dundee – £0
East Ayrshire – £1508
East Dunbartonshire – £46,690
East Lothian – £25,893
East Renfrewshire – £73,723
Edinburgh – £184,759
Falkirk – n/a
Fife – £160,950
Glasgow – £598,477
Highland – £196,467
Inverclyde – £136,681
Midlothian – £418,482
Moray – £17,329
North Ayrshire – £272,697
North Lanarkshire – £140,126
Orkney – £0
Perth and Kinross – £52,700
Renfrewshire – £200,206
Scottish Borders – £20,198
Shetland – £14,134
South Ayrshire – £200,691
South Lanarkshire – £338,890
Stirling – £172,521
West Dunbartonshire – £59,233
West Lothian – £144,876
Western Isles – £12,749

Total – £4,033,903