HR news today: Gender pay gap lives on; Disabled man awarded £78,000 at tribunal; Acas bid to avert Aberdeen transport strike; Carlisle council to sack staff over pay cut agreement

This Personnel Today news round-up includes:

  • Gender pay gap lives on
  • Disabled man awarded £78,000 by employment tribunal
  • Acas bid to avert transport chaos in Aberdeen
  • Postal staff strike continues
  • Carlisle council to sack staff who do not agree to new pay cut contracts

Gender pay gap lives on

Women are earning more than men in some public sector organisations, new research by the BBC has revealed. But the bigger wage packets are only in the lower-paid grades.

Female clerical and admin staff are taking home bigger salaries than their male colleagues in 14 out of 17 public sector bodies which responded to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request about pay. Women in these grades were earning up to £350 a year more than men, the figures showed.

However, male earning outstripped females’ higher up the career ladder, and men outnumbered women in the senior management roles.

In May, Personnel Today reported how the Civil Service gender pay gap outstrips that of the economy as a whole, according to official figures.

Disabled man awarded £78,000 by employment tribunal

A disabled man was awarded nearly £78,000 this week by an employment tribunal which found he had been unfairly dismissed, according to the Messenger.

Andrew Beck, 44, who has Asperger’s Syndrome and learning difficulties, brought the claim against Davyhulme Park Golf Club in Manchester.

Beck left his post of labourer in 2007 after claiming he was given physically demanding jobs more often than other staff at the club. He also alleged he was assaulted by the head green keeper, Nick Marner.

Beck received two warnings in 2001 and 2002, because of alleged instances of failing to carry out set tasks properly.

Marner and Beck’s working relationship continued to deteriorate, with Marner using physical and verbal abuse when issuing instructions to Beck, including kicking him on the foot while wearing industrial boots.

Acas bid to avert transport chaos in Aberdeen

Talks with the conciliation service Acas will be held in a bid to avert a strike that threatens to bring chaos to the transport network in Aberdeen, reports The Press and Journal.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday – just days before hundreds of workers at bus group First plan to start industrial action.

Members of the T&G Unite union are to hold a 24-hour strike on Thursday. That would be followed by a permanent overtime ban and work-to-rule.

Workers, including drivers, cleaners and garage staff, have told bosses they want a 4% pay rise.

First says it cannot offer an increase unless there is a change to workers’ conditions. The union’s regional organiser, Tommy Campbell, said he hoped the talks would bring about a resolution to the dispute.

Postal staff strike continues

Postal workers in London have begun their final day of three days of industrial action in a row over jobs and pay, the BBC reports.

Mail centre staff walked out amid claims of pay cuts and service cutbacks without modernisation.

The Communication Workers Union accused Royal Mail of being the “biggest block to modernisation” but bosses said the union was “halting” modernisation.

Business secretary Lord Mandelson has criticised the strike action.

Delivery staff walked out on Wednesday, followed by distribution and logistics staff on Thursday.

On Thursday, Lord Mandelson said: “I just wish this ‘head in the sand’ attitude by the Communication Workers Union would end.”

The union said it planned to hold a national day of action on 17 July, which will combine industrial action and demonstrations.

Carlisle council to sack staff who do not agree to new pay cut contracts

Carlisle City Council is set to impose pay cuts on 252 staff who will be sacked if they refuse to accept new contracts, according to the Cumberland News.

The controversial move follows a job evaluation exercise last year. However, the newspaper learned that the most senior council officers were not evaluated in the same way as rank-and-file staff.

None of the senior management team, who earn between £69,177 and £104,462 a year, will have their pay altered.

Job evaluation is designed to iron out differentials between men and women that might give rise to equal-pay claims. The jobs of most staff were scored against set criteria. The higher the score, the higher their new salary. The council says there are more winners than losers, although those taking pay cuts will lose up to £7,000 a year.

However, a different system was used for senior managers. They completed a questionnaire and interviews, and their pay was then compared with officers at other local authorities. The council hired consultants at a cost of £4,200 to make the comparison – the same consultants used to set senior officers’ pay in the first place. They concluded that no changes were needed.

A council spokeswoman defended the decision to treat senior staff differently. She said: “The North West Employers’ Organisation was brought in so these posts could be independently evaluated.

“They understood the issues of local government employment and the nature of the job market, and had been used in 2005 to grade the posts for the restructure.”

A council employment panel agreed to push ahead with plans to impose the new pay structure. The final decision will be taken when the full council meets on Tuesday.

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