Glasgow Equal Pay lawyer claims GMB supported Action4Equality only AFTER Labour lost power in city

The equal rights lawyer who represents many of the women at the centre of the Glasgow Council Equal Pay row has said trade unions refused to deal with him for years after the dispute began.

Stefan Cross told The Times newspaper that the GMB and Unite unions only came on board with his Action4Equality group 18 months ago, around the time Labour lost its grip of the local authority.

Cross, who set up Action4Equality group with Mark Irvine, told the newspaper: “Instead of backing the women the first thing they would do was run off and get a dodgy deal with the employers. The women remember this. A lot of them lost out as a result. As we carried on the fight and won stage by stage and demonstrated that what we were doing was the right thing, slowly but surely different trade union officials have thawed and talked with us.”

He added: “They literally wouldn’t sit down with me, … Now, in Scotland though not yet in England, the unions have come on board; first Unison then, in the past 18 months, the GMB, and finally Unite.”

Cross made the claims in an interview with The Times newspaper.  Speaking of the early days of the dispute with the then Labour controlled council, he said : “If you go back to 2005 in Glasgow it was a very hostile environment,” he says. “I was in the middle of litigation against the trade unions, demonstrating that they were discriminating against their female members – the exact opposite of the position they were seeking to portray.”

Throughout the period when Labour ran the local authority, trade unions refused to have anything to do with Action4Equality.  In one email the head of GMB Scotland, Gary Smith, insisted Cross and his partner Mark Irvine were motivated only by money.

In June 2017, Smith emailed GMB members, saying: “These solicitors are driven by profit. They make money from the claimants they represent. The private solicitors will take money from any settlement.”

Cross and Irvine also claimed the GMB and other trade unions never once threatened strike action to bring the pay of the City’s Council’s largely female workforce into line with the much higher pay of their bonus earning male comparators.  The two solicitors also accused the trade unions of working with Glasgow Council officials in order to protect the earnings of people in male dominated jobs.

The actions of the GMB during Labour’s tenure is in stark contrast to its behaviour after the 2017 local elections which saw the SNP take over running of the council.  Threats of industrial action were made by GMB official Rhea Wolfson within months of Labour losing power.

Suspicions of political opportunism grew when it emerged Wolfson was herself a Labour party candidate.  Months after Wolfson’s strike threats, her GMB trade union donated £12,000 to the Scottish Labour leadership campaign fund of then candidate Richard Leonard.

Leonard was also an official with the GMB during the period when Labour negotiated the pay structure that led to the current dispute.

According to the Scottish Labour website, “In 1996 Richard took up the role of an organiser for the GMB union representing workers in manufacturing, commercial and public services across Scotland.”

Speaking in February this year, Leonard admitted Labour owed the women an apology.

The Scottish Labour leader said: “I am pleased that we are now on the right side of the argument with equal pay in Glasgow City Council.

“Many equal pay claims were settled under Labour in Glasgow, but there was too much resistance, too much legal obstruction and for that I think we owe those women an apology.”

Despite the admission, no such apology has been made to the women council workers.

Earlier this week, lawyer Ian Smart claimed it was Leonard himself who advised the GMB to insist on the deal which led to the dispute.

Smart, who is a former President of the Law Society of Scotland, tweeted: “The reason there was a strike in Glasgow today was because, in 2006, the GMB insisted on a deal with discriminatorily terms in favour of their male members. Advised by the GMB’s then research officer, @LabourRichard”

Some critics have raised suspicions that trade unions are looking for opportunities to foster industrial unrest in order to help their former colleague.

Another trade union, the EIS, is currently threatening industrial action if its members aren’t awarded a 10% payrise.

Indyref2 would like to do more articles. Feel free to make a contribution towards this goal.




Views: 6687
Please follow and like us 🙂

12 thoughts on “Glasgow Equal Pay lawyer claims GMB supported Action4Equality only AFTER Labour lost power in city

  1. John

    As expected , Lenny and Jerry giving the go-ahead to their soldiers to wreck havoc in Scotland to get SNP out , it could work !

  2. Clydebuilt

    Excellent journalism.

    Print it off, push it through letterboxes!

    Leonard’s actions should be the final nail in the coffin of The Labour Party in Scotland.

  3. Me Bungo Pony

    Under normal circumstances, this story would (unfortunately) eclipse the women’s struggle for equal pay. The cynicism; the hypocrisy; the mendacity. All of this should be front and centre for the media in an issue which has seen critical services withdrawn from vulnerable people in Glasgow. But Scottish politics is not operating under normal circumstances.

    In Scotland, the UK establishment (which includes most of the media including the BBC) sees itself in the midst of an existential struggle with those who believe Scotland’s best interests would be best served with independence. In this context, the elements of the establishment (in this case, the Labour Party) MUST be protected while the focus MUST be concentrated, however unfairly, on the SNP.

    Scottish unionism is rotten to the core.

  4. Scott

    Leonard will not answer question about this someone at FMQs should try to get an answer from him.

    SCOTLAND’S largest local authority spent more than £2.5 million fighting equal pay claims by female council workers over the last 10 years.

    Figures released following a Freedom of Information request show that between 2007 and 2017 – when the Labour Party controlled Glasgow City Council – £1.8m was spent on legal fees and a further £700,000 on “internal staff costs” to contest claims by women who were victims of wage discrimination.

  5. Independent Woman

    During the SNP conference I spoke with the Unison and GMB representatives at their stand. The Unison representative insisted that the women had been called out on strike on previous occasions on issue of equal pay. I said that I could not recall any strikes on this as I would have been out supporting them having been subjected to discrimination during my working life. However, the Unison rep continued to insist that there had been strikes over the last ten years.

    What outright lies that woman told. Unfortunately, I didn’t note her name at the time so can’t follow it up.

    The SNP rebuttal unit might consider sending a leaflet with the fact of what happened to all the women involved in this action.

  6. Robert Graham

    Well we all know what’s going on , if we see it why are the SNP not confronting it head on ? .
    I expected urgent calls for medics during this weeks FMQs , I stopped what I was doing tuned into parliament TV , and waited for the fireworks to start , f/me I am still waiting.

    Why oh why wasn’t the shop steward singled out for special attention , why was his personal involvement in the equal pay fiasco not brought to the attention of the general public .

    If people don’t know Labours record and how much damage this one party has caused , how many millions these useless spineless turds have waisted they will keep voting for them , if after they are presented with the truth they still support them , fine we can all emigrate and leave these idiots to wallow in the stinking mess they themselves have allowed to happen by voting how their dad voted and his dad, Fools every one .

  7. Lesley Millar

    Can I recommend that everyone who has an interest in these ongoing equal pay disputes that they have a look at The Audit Scotland Website where there is lots of information on The Single Status Agreement and also information on Job Evaluation Scheme and Grading Structure. To date the cost to the public purse for compensation, equal pay claims and legal costs is £750 million and counting. 2004/5 to 2015/16 North Lanarkshire £129.9 million, Glasgow City Council £91.4 million, Edinburgh City Council £87.5 million, South Lanarkshire Council £82.6 million these are only four of the 32 councils involved. If the Trade Unions had been doing their job properly by fulfilling their duty to ALL their members in a fair and equal manner then they would have stepped up to the plate all those years age and fought harder and longer for the equality and equal pay for the predominately female workforce. Instead they favoured and protected the predominately male workforce by refusing to accept the loss of bonuses paid to the predominately male workforce who would now be graded as carrying out work of equal value as that of the predominately female workforce who did not receive these bonuses. The loss of bonuses would be due to the equal pay legislation and the new Grading Structure implemented by the councils as a tool to stop discrimination and the unlawful act of discriminating between men and woman. This legislation came into force in 2004,it took UNISON Lanarkshire TEN years after this date to raise an action against the council on behalf of it’s members and then FAILED miserably in their quest by failing to act with a determined and sincere action which resulted in settlement payouts being substantially less than the actual value of the claim. By condoning the action and quiet possible aiding and abetting the councils to protect the bonuses of the predominately male work force now graded as carrying out work of equal value as the predominately female workforce how could they possible now go to the councils and condemn the same said action. It is no wonder they have been dragging their heels. In my opinion there has been a lot of skullduggery going on with the Trade Unions and now they are trying to cover their tracks. Hang your heads in shame.
    Support and admiration to the the woman of Glasgow City Council who took strike action last week.I wish you well with your mission but I cannot help but feel this is a glorified PR stunt on behalf of UNISON and GMB Trade Unions who are now strutting about beating their puffed out chests. I hope it does not transpire that yet again the end result will be that all they have done is lost these woman more money with loss of earnings for the two day strike action.
    Where were the Trade Unions when all these Councils were planning and implementing the Job Evaluation Scheme and Grading System?
    Is it not the role and of these Trade Unions to to be involved when such an important, complex and lengthy process as a Job Evaluation Scheme is being introduced to an organisation. A process which would certainly have a huge impact on the working lives of their members. I fail to believe that all these Local Authorities who have been involved in these equal pay disputes did not consult with Trade Unions in the early stages all those years ago before the councils put in place the Grading System. Why didn’t these Trade Unions speak out then and stop this gross and direct act of inequality against their predominately female members in its tracks when they first became aware that the workforce who were graded as carrying out work of equal value were not in-fact getting paid an equal wage. If they had done their duty and intervened at the appropriate time years ago everything that is going on now could have been averted and millions of pounds saved.
    I would like clarity and an honest answer from UNISON and GMB as to WHAT exact date/year they became aware of this inequality in the pay structure and as to what actual involvement if any the Trade Unions had when this Job Evaluation Scheme was being constructed and implemented. I have put this question to UNISON but i have been met with silence. What concerns me is IF these Trade Unions were privy to the contents of the Grading system when it was first introduced all those years ago, would this not in fact make them guilty of gross inequality against their members if they did have this knowledge but chose not to act on it at the appropriate time.
    Why were UNISON initially stating that there was no case of inequality against the predominately female workforce / members?
    Why did UNISON (Lanarkshire) have to be virtually frog marched to their legal department {paid for from members fees} to get them to raise an action on behalf of the Lanarkshire members?
    Why did UNISON then raise the white flag in negotiations before they even had time to warm the chair up and advise members to accept offers that their members were not satisfied with and that fell way below the true value of the claim?
    It was a case of take it or leave it because UNISON ( Lanarkshire) were not prepared to take the case to Employment Tribunal and proceeded to withdraw their legal services. Why did it have to take an EXTERNAL law firm to challenge the Councils and raise legal action in the first instance and this external law firm negotiated substantially larger awards than the Trade Unions managed to achieve?
    A vast majority of union members were forced to use the external law firm because their Trade Union were not supporting them in their quest for equal pay.
    WHY.
    If the Trade Unions have nothing to hide then they have nothing to fear so I ask again.
    Where were the Trade Unions when this Job Evaluation Scheme and Grading System was being planned, introduced and implemented?
    When did the Trade Unions first become aware that there was a discrepancy in the pay structure and that an act of discrimination was in-fact taking place against the predominately female workforce and Trade Union members. Were The Trade Unions involved or consulted when the Job Evaluation Scheme and Grading System was being set up by the Councils in question. Are the Trade Unions as innocent in this gross act of inequality as they would like us to believe.
    Over to you UNISON and GMB.

  8. Lesley Millar

    Can I recommend that everyone who has an interest in these ongoing equal pay disputes that they have a look at The Audit Scotland Website where there is lots of information on The Single Status Agreement and also information on Job Evaluation Scheme and Grading Structure. To date the cost to the public purse for compensation, equal pay claims and legal costs is £750 million and counting. 2004/5 to 2015/16 North Lanarkshire £129.9 million, Glasgow City Council £91.4 million, Edinburgh City Council £87.5 million, South Lanarkshire Council £82.6 million these are only four of the 32 councils involved. If the Trade Unions had been doing their job properly by fulfilling their duty to ALL their members in a fair and equal manner then they would have stepped up to the plate all those years age and fought harder and longer for the equality and equal pay for the predominately female workforce. Instead they favoured and protected the predominately male workforce by refusing to accept the loss of bonuses paid to the predominately male workforce who would now be graded as carrying out work of equal value as that of the predominately female workforce who did not receive these bonuses. The loss of bonuses would be due to the equal pay legislation and the new Grading Structure implemented by the councils as a tool to stop discrimination and the unlawful act of discriminating between men and woman. This legislation came into force in 2004,it took UNISON Lanarkshire TEN years after this date to raise an action against the council on behalf of it’s members and then FAILED miserably in their quest by failing to act with a determined and sincere action which resulted in settlement payouts being substantially less than the actual value of the claim. By condoning the action and quiet possible aiding and abetting the councils to protect the bonuses of the predominately male work force now graded as carrying out work of equal value as the predominately female workforce how could they possible now go to the councils and condemn the same said action. It is no wonder they have been dragging their heels. In my opinion there has been a lot of skullduggery going on with the Trade Unions and now they are trying to cover their tracks. Hang your heads in shame.

  9. Lesley Millar

    Support and admiration to the the woman of Glasgow City Council who took strike action last week.I wish you well with your mission but I cannot help but feel this is a glorified PR stunt on behalf of UNISON and GMB Trade Unions who are now strutting about beating their puffed out chests. I hope it does not transpire that yet again the end result will be that all they have done is lost these woman more money with loss of earnings for the two day strike action.
    Where were the Trade Unions when all these Councils were planning and implementing the Job Evaluation Scheme and Grading System?
    Is it not the role and of these Trade Unions to to be involved when such an important, complex and lengthy process as a Job Evaluation Scheme is being introduced to an organisation. A process which would certainly have a huge impact on the working lives of their members. I fail to believe that all these Local Authorities who have been involved in these equal pay disputes did not consult with Trade Unions in the early stages all those years ago before the councils put in place the Grading System. Why didn’t these Trade Unions speak out then and stop this gross and direct act of inequality against their predominately female members in its tracks when they first became aware that the workforce who were graded as carrying out work of equal value were not in-fact getting paid an equal wage. If they had done their duty and intervened at the appropriate time years ago everything that is going on now could have been averted and millions of pounds saved.
    I would like clarity and an honest answer from UNISON and GMB as to WHAT exact date/year they became aware of this inequality in the pay structure and as to what actual involvement if any the Trade Unions had when this Job Evaluation Scheme was being constructed and implemented. I have put this question to UNISON but i have been met with silence. What concerns me is IF these Trade Unions were privy to the contents of the Grading system when it was first introduced all those years ago, would this not in fact make them guilty of gross inequality against their members if they did have this knowledge but chose not to act on it at the appropriate time.
    Why were UNISON initially stating that there was no case of inequality against the predominately female workforce / members?
    Why did UNISON (Lanarkshire) have to be virtually frog marched to their legal department {paid for from members fees} to get them to raise an action on behalf of the Lanarkshire members?
    Why did UNISON then raise the white flag in negotiations before they even had time to warm the chair up and advise members to accept offers that their members were not satisfied with and that fell way below the true value of the claim?
    It was a case of take it or leave it because UNISON ( Lanarkshire) were not prepared to take the case to Employment Tribunal and proceeded to withdraw their legal services. Why did it have to take an EXTERNAL law firm to challenge the Councils and raise legal action in the first instance and this external law firm negotiated substantially larger awards than the Trade Unions managed to achieve?
    A vast majority of union members were forced to use the external law firm because their Trade Union were not supporting them in their quest for equal pay.
    WHY.
    If the Trade Unions have nothing to hide then they have nothing to fear so I ask again.
    Where were the Trade Unions when this Job Evaluation Scheme and Grading System was being planned, introduced and implemented?
    When did the Trade Unions first become aware that there was a discrepancy in the pay structure and that an act of discrimination was in-fact taking place against the predominately female workforce and Trade Union members. Were The Trade Unions involved or consulted when the Job Evaluation Scheme and Grading System was being set up by the Councils in question. Are the Trade Unions as innocent in this gross act of inequality as they would like us to believe.
    Over to you UNISON and GMB.

  10. Bibbit

    Wolfson is a disgusting charlatan. Where was she & her union cronies for the 10 years as her union and Labour run Glasgow Council fought tirelessly to thwart equal pay for Glasgow Council women employees. It would be laughable if her rank hypocrisy was not so odious. Words fail me at their sheer brass neck.

    1. Bibbit

      If British nationalist Labour got back in to power tomorrow, we all know Wolfson & her union cronies would revert to their old tricks.

      Jeremy Corbyn agreed yesterday with the Tory chancellor’s tax breaks for the wealthiest 10%.

      Labour really do think we are daft, don’t they?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Facebook Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com