UNION members fighting the city council over an equal pay claim are 'angry and frustrated' over the length of time negotiations are taking.

However, the council has hit back – claiming a schedule of negotiations was agreed and an offer will be made by December.

Outside a case management hearing at Glasgow Employment Tribunal yesterday, Unison claimants wore suffragette sashes – linking the litigation with the fight for gender equality.

Mandy McDowell, Unison regional officer, told the Evening Times: "This is a process hearing, but it's disappointing it's come to this.

"If we had got some work done around the table, we wouldn't be here.

"The council need to get back round the table and get their sleeves rolled up. They need to come to us with their proposals."

A Glasgow City Council spokesman responded: "We remain fully committed to resolving the equal pay issue through continuing negotiations and to making an offer in December.

“This position has not changed, however, all sides previously agreed that, at some point, we may wish to go to a tribunal to seek adjudication on specific issues.

"As it can take a long time to secure a tribunal slot, today’s hearing, which was applied for jointly with the unions, was merely to secure a placeholder – to minimise any wait – should the need arise.”

As reported previously, Glasgow City Council faces a huge bill to compensate female workers for being paid less than men for carrying out equivalent jobs over several decades.

Women employed as carers, cleaners, catering staff, classroom assistants and clerical staff were paid £3-an-hour less than men in low-paid roles operating within the local authority.

In 2005, the council accepted flaws in their pay arrangements with settlements offered to staff who had raised equal pay claims.

But in March last year, a landmark hearing at the Employment Appeal Tribunal found that 6,000 women were now entitled to make additional claims.

At yesterday's hearing the council was expected to reveal its current pay and grading system.

Ahead of the meeting, Ms McDowell did not expect that to happen.

She said: "They don't seem to be committed in changing their approach – and this needs to be done.

"This is going to look like the day after the court hearing – that they have not done anything."

Unions acting on behalf of the claimants believe the bill for 'discriminating' against the women could top £500 million, a claim the council said was not accurate.

Ms McDowell added: "The members know they are owed a lot of money.

"They are hardworking people in Glasgow.

"This has been going on since 2006. These talks have been going on for 10 months.

"The delay in action has caused a lot of frustration and a lot of anger. They have lost a lot of confidence in the council and there is a lot of hurt.

"These people don't have a lot of money, but they are owed a lot of money – for some they can see the end in sight."

Following the meeting, a spokeswoman from Unison stated: "The hearing went as expected. Today continued our approach of ensuing that litigation, negotiation and industrial action are all still in play in the fight for pay equality.“

In response to a strike threat, the council spokesman added: “The union has asked its members to back strike action on the basis of a schedule of negotiations it not only agreed, but also signed up to on their behalf.

“The council has committed to make an offer in December, which it will do, and we are committed to discuss the component parts of that offer prior to that.

“The union also knows full well that strike action cannot possibly make this process move any faster.”