GLASGOW City Council has been praised by a local government watchdog for their progress in settling their equal pay dispute.

The Scottish Accounts Commission says that dealing with these claims has been the most significant development with more than 98 per cent of cases settled at a total cost of £505 million. 

The regulator says they expect councils to maintain their focus on unresolved cases as the 32 local authorities in Scotland have spent £1.3 billion settling cases of pay inequality between male and female staff. 

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The number of live claims fell by 82.5 per cent between September 2016 and December 2019, says the Accounts Commission in a report published this week.

Details show that live claims with Scottish councils in December 2019 were 4755 compared to 26,912 in September 2016. 

Glasgow City Council’s response in settling equal pay claims has been the most significant development, with more than 98% of cases settled at a total cost of £505 million

Graham Sharp, chairman of the Accounts Commission, said: “Since we reported on equal pay claims nearly three years ago, Scotland’s councils have made significant progress in resolving cases and making compensation payments to workers affected by pay discrimination. This is heartening and has righted the unfair treatment of thousands of mainly female workers.”

In 2018/19, councils reported that their gender pay gap between men and women was 4 per cent – 0.5 per cent lower than in 2015/16.  

The 2017 audit found that between 2004 and 2016, around 70,000 equal pay claims were lodged against councils. At that point, councils had spent about £750 million covering the costs of compensation agreements and legal fees.

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Live claims with Scottish councils in December 2019 were 4755 compared to 26,912 in September 2016 including new claims which have been made since the previous audit.

Mr Sharp added: “Councils now need to make sure they maintain their focus and momentum to settle the claims that are still outstanding across the country. They also need to ensure their systems deliver equal pay, particularly those bodies that are working through significant changes to their organisations.” 

A previous report said that at the end of November 2019, there were still approximately 150 equal pay settlements outstanding. 

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “Since the last update by the commission Glasgow has settled more than 15,000 claims, voted to scrap its pay scheme and begun work on a job evaluation exercise.”