Equal pay for Scots care workers mustn’t mean council cuts

Union members make their voices heard outside South Lanarkshire Council's Hamilton HQ. -Credit:Garry F McHarg Daily Record
Union members make their voices heard outside South Lanarkshire Council's Hamilton HQ. -Credit:Garry F McHarg Daily Record

Care workers employed by councils have been underpaid for too long.

Their commitment to working long hours was often taken for granted while other local authority staff were rewarded with higher wages.

The disparity in pay between jobs traditionally done by men and those by women was obvious for years – but bosses did their best to ignore the issue.

A long battle saw Glasgow City Council reach a landmark settlement with female staff on equal pay. But it is unlikely to be the last local authority that will have to dig deep to settle equal pay claims.

Care workers employed by three local authorities will today rally in George Square in a show of defiance. They have taken strike action as they feel their labour is not being properly rewarded.

But this action goes beyond a standard pay dispute. These care workers feel they have been undervalued for years.

The battle for equal pay won’t be settled tomorrow but councils should be negotiating in good faith now.

Local authorities are already struggling to balance the books but that’s not the workers’ fault. Years of real-terms funding cuts passed on by Holyrood are.

And the grim financial situation facing town halls has been compounded by the determination of SNP ministers to freeze council tax year after year.

The Scottish Government has a role to play in resolving equal pay disputes. It can’t sit back as councils struggle to deal with the consequences of past mistakes.

Schools, leisure centres and libraries must not be cut to fund these settlements.

Council bosses and Holyrood need to bang their heads together to find a solution that brings justice for underpaid women and protects services.

Fleeing the bully

It is shocking that a mother had to flee her home to escape a dangerous XL bully living next door.

Amanda Brogan’s dog received awful injuries and it is still under vets’ care.

This has racked up a massive £1300 bill, with the incident leaving Amanda and her son traumatised.

Eventually they decided it was safer to leave rather than risk further attack.

This sad case shows that Scotland’s crackdown on XL bullies is justified.

There is no way these dogs should be sold, advertised or bred – and those that are licensed need to be muzzled.

Owners who can’t control their dogs must face the full force of the law.

Landlords and the police must also take cases where dangerous dogs pose a threat more seriously.

Amanda had warned housing bosses about the dog for more than a year but nothing was done. People up and down the country will be in a similar position.

Nobody should be terrified into leaving their home because of a bully next door.

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