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Equality campaign could cost city council £1 billion

This news post is about 6 years old

Pension rights should be include campaigners claim

Equality campaigners could cost Glasgow council an extra £1billion if their fight for equal pay includes pension rights.

More than 11,500 current and former employees are pursuing claims against Glasgow City Council after a Court of Session ruling last year said that a 2007 pay deal discriminated against female employees.

So far the bill for this has been estimated at around £500 million. However the lawyer representing the majority of the women said that in addition to receiving a lump sum and having their pay grade reassessed, the women must be given the opportunity to increase their pension pots too.

Stefan Cross QC of Action 4 Equality Scotland, which is acting for 7,500 women, said: “At the moment we are only discussing process with Glasgow City Council and not the details at all, but pensions would be a red line for us. If they don’t agree to it being pensionable then we won’t have an agreement.

“People don’t realise that because men are getting more pay they are getting more pension. This discrimination is baked in for a lifetime.”

Members of the Local Government Pension Scheme pay a proportion of their salary into the pot each month and receive a retirement income that is linked to what they earned while they were working.

Until 2015 that income was based on employees’ final salaries, but a change made to the scheme at that point means it is now worked out on the average amount they earned during their time at the local authority.

That has brought pensions into sharper focus for anyone with an equal pay claim.

If successful it would see the council’s total bill rise to £1 billion.

A spokesman for the council said: “At this early stage, nobody involved knows what any negotiated settlement will look like, these are all matters that will be up for proper discussion over this year.”