Jan 24 2013 by Julie Gilbert, Hamilton Advertiser
A Supreme Court hearing regarding South Lanarkshire Council’s equal pay row is to be streamed live on the internet.
The hearing is an appeal from the council against a Court of Session decision, which ruled the council must release details on its pay scales.
The information had been requested by Mark Irvine from Action 4 Equality to establish whether traditional low-skilled male jobs in land services - such as gardeners, bin men and gravediggers - were paid more than traditional female jobs which had an equal or higher level of skill involved.
However, the council refused to comply, and have appealed to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom to try and get the decision overturned.
The link to watch the hearing live can be accessed from www.supremecourt.gov.uk.
Mark Irvine wanted the information on pay scales to help with the case he is building for around 2500 council workers in the area with equal pay claims.
He says anyone interested in the issue should tune in and watch the Supreme Court hearing.
Mark said: “The more people who understand how ridiculous South Lanarkshire’s position is the better, if you ask me.
“Because the council has already lost the argument with the independent Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) and three senior judges in the Court of Session (Lords Marnoch, Mackay and Brailsford) - who upheld the SIC ruling and unanimously dismissed South Lanarkshire Council’s subsequent appeal.
“So I hope lots of people will tune in and watch the UK Supreme Court in action - as it could be a big day for equal pay and freedom of information.”
The council claim releasing the information would identify individual employees.
This Freedom of Information case is separate from the employment tribunal looking at the equal pay claims themselves.
An employment tribunal considering some of the claims last year ruled that the authority’s job evaluation scheme did not comply with national equal pay legislation.
The council’s appeal against that decision will be heard by an employment appeal tribunal in Edinburgh between October 8 and October 10, and there will be a preliminary hearing on March 19.
Carol Fox, of lawyers Fox and Partners, who are representing the claimants, is also planning to go back to the tribunal between April 22 and April 30 to see if progress could be made on claims which pre-date the council’s job evaluation scheme in 2004.