No win no fee cases highlight worst working relationship in UK
A recent study has exposed relationships between staff representatives and the largest local authority have the worst working environment within the UK.
The GMB union stated that the relationship is so bad that it is the “worst in the country.”
Last month the public witnessed just how bad and strained the relationship was, after around 4,000 employees- mainly women- won a case for equal pay against Birmingham City Council.
Unions predicted that staff could collectively be entitled to £80 million in compensation from the suit.
The GMB, which represents 8,000 employees at the council, said bosses should stop stalling and start negotiating the no win no fee payouts.
The claims centre around a bonus scheme pay dispute, which was implemented by the council’s old structure, but the tribunal ruled that such bonuses to men were discriminatory and a typical male worker earned more than £50,000 per annum.
In response to the cases, the council declared that the union’s claims were not justified nor true. However, the authority has only until 16th June to decide whether to appeal against the 27th April tribunal ruling on equal pay.
The National Secretary of the GMB Union, commented on the case: “Industrial relations there are the worst in the country.
“I see things up and down the country and there are problems all over but I have to put them at the top of the list.
“It's down to a culmination of things. You can deal with the most difficult economic times and take the workforce with you or you can bully and not take them with you and Birmingham took the latter route.
"They've used obstructive moves, they have delayed things when they know they have got to pay this money,” he stated.
No truth in claims
Many of the staff involved in the pay claim were part time, low-paid workers, including cleaners, cooks, care assistants and caretakers, who argued they should be paid the same as their male colleagues.
After last month's tribunal ruling, Councillor Rudge said the “inappropriate bonus schemes” were removed in 2007.
But in a statement, Cabinet Minister for Equalities and Human Resources, refused to acknowledge public liability, stressing that there is no truth behind the unions statement.
He said: “This statement is not true, nor is there any justification and I am disappointed by the comments. We have always and will continue to engage with our trades unions as we have done to date.
“The obvious thing to do is stop delaying and actually give their legal representatives permission to negotiate to bring these claims to an end.”
Salary details released during the hearing exposed some employees received thousands of pounds in bonuses and performance-linked payouts.
The GMB, which represented about 1,400 people in the dispute, noted that payouts to workers date back to over six years ago and claimants are expected to be awarded with around £20,000 each.