Political Correspondent

EQUAL pay campaigners in Glasgow are celebrating a victory after the city council was refused permission to appeal a judgement.

Earlier this year it was ruled that the council had to settle the equal pay claims of around 10,000 women, but the local authority was seeking leave to appeal.

At the time council leader Susan Aitken said it did not mean the council would appeal and the council would be looking to reach an agreed settlement.

Later, First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, gave an assurance at the SNP conference in Glasgow that the equal pay claims would be settled.

However the council was still pursuing the option of an appeal and the Court of Session has now ruled that out.

Unions said it was a victory and urged the council to end legal actions and pay up.

It is believed the final figure could be in the hundreds of millions of pounds, putting the council under serious financial pressures.

However union representatives said the women must be paid what they are owed.

Rhea Wolfson, GMB Scotland Organiser, said: “This is a clear and just decision from the court that gives power back to the women of Glasgow.

“There will be anger among claimants that Glasgow City Council would try to argue that budget pressures should excuse their historic liabilities but we now hope GCC’s lawyers will not consider any further action that could delay settlement proceedings.

“Following this judgment there now should be no barriers to the delivery of a just settlement.”

Unison said the council now had no arguments to pursue and should begin negotiations to settle the claims.

Peter Hunter, Unison Scotland Regional Manager, said: “In a clear and unequivocal judgement read from the bench the Court immediately dismissed every shred of argument presented by the council lawyers.

“Glasgow city council has shown an appetite for endless litigation that has delayed justice for thousands of women.

“We have rarely seen such forthright and immediate rejection of an employer argument.

“The Court could not have been more clear, the council do not have a valid pay system and they must address their obligations to women and do that now.”

Council leader Susan Aitken said: “This is a significant development in this long-running issue. We will continue to  discuss this with claimants’ representatives as part of ongoing negotiations which will continue in to the New Year.

“I remain committed to working with all parties to finally achieve a resolution to this dispute.”