Political Correspondent

Glasgow City Council will decide within days whether to take an appeal on the equal pay ruling to the Supreme Court.

Council officials have presented three options to the City Administration Committee of the council.

One is to seek leave of appeal to the Supreme Court. The second is to follow a previous decision and run claims through the Employment Tribunal and the third is to continue negotiations with the claimants’ lawyers and union representatives.

The SNP members of the committee are expected to vote for option three and move from litigation to negotiation.

However, if that is the decision of a majority of the committee it does not mean that the council will be making immediate pay outs. Instead it will carry on talks to reach a settlement.

The council has received legal advice from two QCs, which is to seek leave to appeal.

The QCs, John Bowers and Brian Napier, have advised that the council has “arguable points of law which may be successful and additionally because the amounts at stake are very large indeed.”

If the council did appeal it is likely that the case would be heard in the spring or summer of 2019. If it was to go down the Employment Tribunal route it could take several years to conclude.

In a report to councillors Carole Forrest, the director of governance and solicitor to the council, said if no appeal is sought or is refused then a new pay and grading scheme would need to be implemented

She said: “ The introduction of a new scheme could have additional financial and industrial relations claims.”

A council spokesman said: “This is an exceptionally complex legal question, however the City Government is clear that they want this matter solved by negotiation rather than litigation.

“A court of session ruling means the council’s pay scheme as it currently stands does not automatically protect it from equal pay claims. It has also ruled against an appeal to the Supreme Court. The City Administration Committee will decide next week whether to seek leave to appeal directly to the Supreme Court.

“Regardless of legal proceedings, the council and the claimants’ representatives are now meeting regularly and we have agreed a schedule of meeting for the rest of this calendar year.”