UPDATE – SETTLEMENT IS GOING TO TAKE LONGER THAN EXPECTED
The council will be sending an update in these terms:
“In our equal pay update of 10 June, we explained that our negotiations had resumed but we were unable to assess the impact which a pause has had on timescales. We have since held a further negotiation meeting with the claimant representatives. All sides feel that the number and complexity of issues involved mean that the proposed timeline for offers will need to be extended. We cannot yet say for sure how much additional time will be needed but we will update you as soon as we can. With a series of further negotiation meetings scheduled for July and August, we can reiterate that all sides are fully committed to progressing matters as soon as they can.”
All of this is true but it’s not the whole picture. The fact is that the council leadership announced that they intended to have settlement offers by October 2022. It is now clear that this is unachievable.
We have not reached agreement on the pre 18 people and have not started talking about the post 18 people.
The bad news is that, due to summer holidays, there are no more meetings until July 21st.
The good news is that there is now a programme of meetings after that, and a commitment to resolve the outstanding issues. These, however, remain extensive but there is a real willingness to tackle these as soon as possible.
The reality is that even when we have an agreement there will be at least a two-month gap for pure administrative measures such as individual calculations and documentation construction and production. We are talking about hundreds of thousands of pages to printed posted etc. so even if we get agreement in august it will take until at least October just to get the first batch of offers out, let alone get payments made. You can add at least another 3 months for the post 18 claims – so early 2023 is much more likely.
None of this is a criticism of the council or its officers. It’s just the reality of dealing with so many claims. There are far more claims now than there were in 2019 and considerably more complications.
This is all very frustrating, but I am still positive – there is a genuine desire on all sides to get this done asap.