LOW paid women council workers are celebrating a decision which they hope will bring an end to their long running equal pay claim.

Several thousand claims are outstanding for equal pay with men doing similar jobs.

Glasgow City Council has, after years of fighting the claims through the courts, decided to end the legal process and focus on negotiating a settlement with the women.

The decision means the council will not take the only remaining legal option open, which was an appeal to the UK Supreme Court in London.

As Councillors met to decide to abandon the legal challenges women members from GMB and Unison waited outside the City Chambers to hear the result.

The decision as met with delight from campaigners and welcomed by their union reps.

Frances Stojilkovic, a Cordia worker and a lead campaigners in the fight for equal pay, said: “This is absolutely brilliant, we are so excited.

“I feel like I haven’t drawn breath for the past four weeks but we finally have the right decision and the council has seen sense.

“We were very nervous beforehand but the council has done the right thing with a unanimous vote.

“We’re still keeping going, the fight is not over.”

Amanda Brown, Unison member and a home carer, said: “It’s been a long and difficult struggle to get Glasgow City Council to finally commit to treating women fairly. We work hard to deliver the services the people of Glasgow rely on and all we are asking is for women to be valued and treated equally.”

The council will now continue talks to decide which claims will be settled and how much will be paid out, but no figure is being put on the likely bill.

Susan Aitken, council leader, said “The cost will be determined by the outcome of the negotiations.”

In response to Labour group leader Frank McAveety asking what the financial impact on the council would be, the City Treasurer, Allan Gow, added: “It is impossible to quantify the financial liability.”

The settlements will be a lengthy process and the council said ending the legal route does not mean a move to immediate payments or changes to pay grades.

Ms Aitken added it would take several months. She said there are talks scheduled for the rest of 2018 and added:” I would hope we would not need to go on much longer.”

Unions recognised the process is not immediate but welcomed the change in direction.

Carol Ball of Unison’s Glasgow branch said: “This is a great day for the low paid cleaners, carers, caterers and others working for Glasgow City Council who have waited ten years for pay equality.

“A great day, but just the first day in the process of moving to equality, because settlement takes time.

“Our members have waited long enough for the fair and equal pay they have worked hard for and deserve.”

Hazel Nolan, GMB Scotland Organiser, said: “Our city is run on the backs of these women, some of whom have died waiting for claims to be settled; they keep our kids fed, our schools clean and they care for our elderly and most vulnerable.

This is only the start of the process but this decision clears the way and perhaps for the first time, our women can be optimistic that pay justice is within reach.”

Some of the claims are being taken forward by the GMB and Unison and others by lawyers under the Action 4 Equality group.

They were equally pleased with the decision to stop the court battle and said it vindicated the women’s position.

Stefan Cross QC, of Action 4 Equality, added: “Ten years ago Glasgow council bosses told us this day would never come, but the Court of Session judgment shows that A4ES was right all along. So this is really is marvellous news.

“We have been saying for years now that the City Council could not justify paying highly skilled, hard-working staff like Home Carers so much less than gardeners, gravediggers and refuse workers.

“We still have lots of work to do before a final settlement is reached, but some of the lowest paid council workers in Glasgow have struck a blow for equal pay right across the UK.”