Equal pay wrangle nears an end

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A LONG-RUNNING dispute over council pay awards could be nearing its conclusion.

Northumberland County Council has been working on the Single Status job evaluation process for more than three years to harmonise terms and conditions for workers and ensure equal pay.

Now GMB and Unison members have voted to accept a settlement and Unite expects the results of its ballot today.

Council Executive Member for Corporate Resources Andrew Tebbutt said: “The council is delighted that after three-and-a-half years of very complex and detailed negotiation, an agreement has been reached with the unions on the implementation of Single Status, which affects the majority of the staff employed by the council.

“The council is pleased that a ballot by the unions of the affected staff has produced an overwhelming vote in favour of the agreement and progress is now being made to rapidly implement the agreement so that those staff who benefit receive any monies due to them as quickly as possible. The credit for this agreement must go to the group of dedicated staff, together with the union officials, who have worked long and hard to reach an agreement.”

Hexham MP Guy Opperman, who has been campaigning for female council workers to get a fair deal, said: “We can be proud of the campaign we have fought to bring this scandal to an end. Even if a settlement is agreed there will likely be some ongoing individual cases so I will continue to assist until everyone receives a fair deal. It looks very much like some of Northumberland’s lowest paid workers will finally be getting the pay they are owed, which is great news.”