£1bn of outstanding equal pay claims are timebomb for Scotland

Councils in Scotland face a £1bn equal pay “timebomb” after tens of thousands of local authority workers submitted claims, Scottish MPs have been warned.

The Scottish Parliament local government committee was told by union officials that councils were still dragging their heels over the issue, with 35,000 employment tribunal disputes unresolved, compared to 48,000 for the whole of England and Wales.

Unions believe that the eventual bill for equal pay adjustments could top £1bn and lead to council tax rises and job cuts.

Duncan McNeil, committee convenor, said special provisions needed to be made to cover the costs.

“This is a financial timebomb and there are significant cost implications given the 35,000 tribunal cases,” ha added.

As a result of the single-status agreement, introduced the late 1990s, which sought to do away with unfair pay systems and implement a common pay scale for all jobs, councils across the UK that were slow to implement the agreement have been facing huge bills for back pay.

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