THE lawyer representing thousands of equal pay claimants in Glasgow has accused the council officers of thwarting a settlement.

Stefan Cross QC, of Action4Equality Scotland, said the executive officers of the council do not share the commitment of the political leadership to secure a fair deal for the women.

He said Susan Aitken, the SNP leader of the council, is being misled by the Chief Executive, Annemarie O’Donnell and her deputy Carole Forrest.

His comments come after Ms Aitken criticised the trade unions for taking members out on strike stating leaders are misrepresenting the progress made in negotiations.

Mr Cross said he has seen nothing to suggest the officers conducting he negotiations are seeking a fair negotiated settlement.

He said: “There has been no realistic attempts to negotiate. They have been going through the motions.

“We have had 21 meetings with Carole Forrest and we have negotiated absolutely nothing.”

He said that there was no agreed timetable of talks.

He said the council is looking to pay out less than what the women are entitled to and suggested that the officers are seeking to allow it to return to an Employment Tribunal.

Responding to Ms Aitken’s criticism of the unions he said: “The women are not being led on strike by thee unions. They are going on strike because they are being betrayed by the council.

“My only criticism of Susan Aitken is she is being misled by the officers.”

“Her commitment is wholly impressive. If officers delivered what she promised we would have no problems.”

He added: “The difference between Annemarie O’Donnell and Susan Aitken is chalk and cheese.”

Mr Cross said the claimant side had proposed comparators one of the elements of reaching a figure for individuals but that the council had not responded.

He said: “In all my years practicing law, I can’t say this is negotiation.”

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “Officers are carrying out the instructions given to them by committee – but anyone who thinks the leader doesn’t press them pretty hard doesn’t know her at all.

“Councillor Aitken has made her commitment to equal pay very clear. Mr Cross is making these remarks on the day she took a paper to committee which commits the council to adopting an entirely new pay and grading scheme.”