Two out of every five councils have yet to complete staff equal pay reviews under the single status agreement nearly two years after the original April 2007 deadline, according to Unison.
Unison’s latest survey of local authorities, conducted through their network of branches, found that only 60% had completed an equal pay review. The figure is up just 2% on a similar survey carried out by Local Government Employers in August 2008.
However, Unison head of local government Heather Wakefield said that there had been “significant progress” over the past year. She added: “Most local authorities who haven’t already done so are in the process of carrying out reviews, it’s only a small number who haven’t done anything.”
The single status agreement was signed in 1997 by the national joint council, a body consisting of employers and trade unions, to end pay discrimination between male and female local authority employees by reviewing pay and grading structures.
In 2004 a timetable was set out to ensure local authorities completed and implemented their pay and grading review by 1 April 2007.
But a large number of councils failed to meet the deadline due to concerns over the possible costs of implementing single status. As a result, some authorities have been hit by industrial action and others have been taken to court by unions over the issue.
The Unison figures followed news that councils would be allowed to borrow against or sell assets to fund back pay liabilities arising from equal pay deals during 2009-10.