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WHO ARE THE MALCONTENTS?
WHO ARE THE MALCONTENTS?
So This is the query from The Times :
I wonder if you can help me?
We are looking to publish an article exploring the consequences of your recent victory on equal pay in Glasgow.
It has been suggested that the total cost of righting this historical wrong will be in excess of £500 million.
A report prepared for the council states: "The amounts at stake are very large indeed", while Susan Aitken acknowledged that "justice comes with a price" and that officers have been instructed to explore "all financial options".
In Birmingham, where the council had to settle more than 10,000 outstanding claims, the total bill came to £1.1 billion.
This led to significant cuts to services, and the sale of a number of key public assets including the National Exhibition Centre.
Suggestions have been made that Glasgow will have to implement unprecedented cuts and and look at selling assets in order to be able to honour its responsibilities on equal pay.
My editor is very keen to get your take on this.
Would it be possible to get a statement for publication outlining why this action was necessary, what the next steps will be and your response to suggestions that it could result in significant job losses and cuts to services within the council?
Our deadline would be noon tomorrow.
Many thanks and best wishes,
Marc Horne, Scotland reporter, The Times
AND THIS IS MY REPLY:
Thanks for your email. Apologies for the delay. Your email arrived whilst we were in discussions with the council.
I must say that I’m disappointed at the line that you are taking, suggesting that women claiming equal pay would be responsible for cuts in services. This is no better than blaming the hostesses at The Presidents Club for the sexual harassment they endured. The women of Glasgow are the victims here not the villains.
Second, this suggestion of massive cuts from an unnamed source is not the position of the SNP leadership. It sounds like carping from those that were responsible for the discrimination, sore that they got found out.
Third, it doesn’t need to be the position. There is Scottish government fund of £500m set up to deal with these issues which remains pretty much unused. If this needs to be increased then that is what the Scottish government should do. At the end of the day by underpaying these women for more than a decade the council will have saved billions of pounds, far more than they will ever have to payout.
These women have been treated appallingly for more than a decade and for them to be blamed for seeking their entitlement is just another form of sexism and victimisation.
The sooner these injustices are remedied the better.
The current administration is taking a positive approach to addressing these issues and we have a year of meetings planned to try and reach agreement on resolving these complicated problems. Sadly it seems some malcontents wish to disrail these discussions. Shame on them.
Stefan Cross QC
So let’s see what gets printed. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that after labour got embarrassed into backing the SNP position last week that suddenly there’s negative briefings going on. Of course I might be wrong but as the source is anonymous we are left to guess.
You make up your own mind