Here are the two recent posts about the local press coverage on equal pay in South Lanarkshire - which appeared recently in the Hamilton Advertiser.
Lots of members have been asking for an explanation from their union - but as yet no one has received a straight answer.
Cosying Up With Employers
The Hamilton Advertiser published Alex Neil's press statement about South Lanarkshire Council behaving like a Victorian employer - see previous post dated 29 November 2010.
Predictably, South Lanarkshire rushed to its own defence - but hot on its heels came the local Unison branch - cosying up to the council like some kind of lovestruck teenager.
Here's an extract of the article from the local newspaper - which also reported Alex Neil's comments in full.
"A council spokesman said this week: “The ongoing legal process around equal pay claims, which Alex Neil MSP is aware of, makes it difficult for us to comment as fully as we would like."
“However, South Lanarkshire Council was the first local authority in Scotland to achieve single status, including job evaluation."
“The council is confident in the integrity of the job evaluation scheme and we take our equality duties very seriously. Employees are involved, either directly or via their trade union, in the job evaluation process and we are unaware of any employee with an outstanding request for information.”
Stephen Smellie, secretary of South Lanarkshire’s Unison branch, took a dim view of the MSP’s comments.
He said: “It is a shame that a national politician wishes to make some political capital out of a situation of concern to many local people without actually knowing the facts.
“Whatever his view of South Lanarkshire Council, they don’t employ child chimney sweeps or send women down coal mines.
“Nor are they only council which did not use the national scheme he refers to. Nor is there a national review that can tell anyone what they should pay staff. Workers who wish to find out about these sort of things would be better speaking to their trade union.”
What the local Unison branch fails to explain is that the vast majority of councils in Scotland - used the nationally approved and recommended Job Evaluation scheme.
No other council in Scotland has behaved the same way as South Lanarkshire - which has failed to act openly and transparently - and has refused all requests to explain exactly what traditional male jobs are paid.
The trade unions clearly know - because the unions helped to negotiate the deals that favour some council jobs over others - so why don't they tell their members?
Victorian Employers in South Lanarkshire
Alex Neil MSP continues to champion the cause of council workers in South Lanarkshire - who are still fighting for equal pay.
Here's a copy of a recent press statement - in which Alex Neil compares South Lanarkshire Council to a Victorian employer.
"MSP Neil calls on South Lanarkshire Council to stop acting like Victorian employers"
Central Scotland SNP MSP Alex Neil has strongly criticised South Lanarkshire Council for treating many of its employees with contempt over the issue of single status and equal pay.
Mr Neil, who has taken up the case on behalf of hundreds of South Lanarkshire Council's workers, says the treatment being meted out to employees reeks of the contempt with which Victorian employers treated their workers.
At issue is the Council's refusal to provide the basic information it used to decide the wages of hundreds of workers as part of the introduction of single status, ie equal pay for the same work.
Many women workers in particular are losing out badly because the Council won't pay them the rate for the job.
A decision by Scotland's Information Commission is due and Mr Neil has strongly urged him to force the Council to reveal all the information on its review of equal status.
"For some strange reason the Tory/Labour Administration in South Lanarkshire is the only council out of 32 not to have taken part in the National Job Evaluation Scheme, which determined the outcome of these claims. It ran its own Evaluation but won't tell the workers who did it, what its terms of reference were, what its recommendations were or how it reached these recommendations.
The whole exercise is bringing the Council into disrepute and making it a laughing stock amongst all the other councils in Scotland.
They should fez up, tell the truth and settle on the basis of the national review, as clearly their own was deeply flawed."
Readers in South Lanarkshire are having a big effect by raising the the fight for equal pay with their MSPs - the issue is gathering steam - as we start the run in to the next round of MSP elections in May 2011.
What is your MSP doing - on your behalf?