Commission urges pace in addressing equal pay and conditions at Glasgow City Council

24 August 2023

Glasgow City Council, trade unions and others are urged to maintain the pace in implementing a new system aimed at ensuring employees are paid equally in the future for the work they do.

Since 2018, the council has settled or is in the process of settling about 19,000 claims from former and current employees who had been underpaid in comparison to counterparts, at a cost of £765 million. To fund this, the council entered ‘sale and leaseback’ arrangements with council-owned bodies on cultural, sporting and education properties.

The council is undertaking a comprehensive job evaluation exercise that would prevent inequalities in pay and conditions in future. However, the implementation of this has been delayed due to both the complexity of the issue and the Covid 19 pandemic. In a report published today, the Accounts Commission has urged all parties to work quickly to conclude this exercise to allow it to implement its new pay and grading structure and to ensure it has contingency arrangements in case of further delays.

The Commission commends the council for its effective governance arrangements around the work programme around equal pay. The Commission has previously praised the council for successfully delivering settlements in a relatively short time, given the challenging and complex nature of the issue.  

Ronnie Hinds, Chair of the Accounts Commission said:

The Commission has previously commended Glasgow City Council for its work in addressing the pay inequalities that staff have experienced, some for decades. The council has strong processes in place to deliver a new pay and grading structure, which we are pleased to see given the complexity of this issue and the financial costs.

However, all parties involved need to maintain the pace of work to ensure the new system is implemented as planned. This will help to prevent workers suffering inequalities in future and minimise the risk of the council having to sell further assets in order to pay compensation. The Commission will also monitor how effectively the council addresses the financial implications and any impact on services, at a time when money is tight across local government in Scotland.