Fife Council reaches agreement on historic equal pay claims

Fife CouncilMore than 1,400 female workers at Fife Council are to share a multi-million pound payout under an equal pay deal.

Unison said a settlement had been reached with the authority for historic discriminatory pay practices, dating back in some cases to 2006.

The union said discussions were ongoing to finalise the exact amount of compensation and claimants, mostly low-paid women Unison members, will receive details of their settlement “in due course”.

Dougie Black, Unison regional organiser for Fife local government, said: “This has been a long time coming, many claims stretch back to 2006, we can only thank Unison members for their hard work and patience.

“We will now discuss individual claims with the employer to ensure each claim is calculated properly. This a good day for low-paid women workers and Unison is proud to have been a part of it.”

Suzanne Craig, Unison’s legal officer, said: “Unison will be seeking early payment from the employers. Regrettably, it took the threat of proceeding to an employment tribunal to focus the employer’s minds to settle, but it is great news for everyone we have agreed.

“This settlement also agrees the legal principles for moving forward to ensure wherever possible job evaluation and pay practices remain free from discrimination in the future.”

Council Leader David Ross welcomed the news, saying the agreement is in the best interest of the council and its employees.

He added: “This has been a difficult time for everyone concerned. These claims have been ongoing for some considerable time and the legal processes involved have been complex.

“The fact that we have reached agreement without the need for legal proceedings has to be welcomed. There will no doubt be comparisons between Fife and other local authorities who are also dealing with equal pay claims. However it’s important to note that no two cases are the same and the fact that we haven’t had to go through a court process means Fife’s outcome cannot be compared to others.

“There will be significant cost to the council and we’re in the process of working through the fine detail which will lead to the final figures. Set against the existing budget gap of £77m over 3 years, this will make the development of our future budgets even more challenging.”

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