A councillor has hit out at Wrecsam Council for significant delays in getting final settlement payments resolved for current and former council employees' equal pay claims. Many of the female workers have waited eight years to have their equal pay cases resolved, with Wrexham Council being one of the last in Wales to pay out (16th out of 22).
The council had agreed to pay out to hundreds of low-paid workers back September 2012 but the payments have still not been processed, despite workers agreeing written offers via their solicitors 4 months ago. Workers are being told by their solicitors that they are still waiting for the relevant COT3 forms to arrive from the council.
Cllr Arfon Jones, who has received complaints from several former council employees, said:
"Under an agreement with the unions in 1997, councils agreed to settle all claims, estimated at totalling more than £75m, by 2007. Most Welsh councils have already resolved claims but Wrexham is one of the last to do so. Many of the ladies getting in touch with me are angry at the continued delays even at this final stage and simply can't understand why the council can't sort it out.
"I contacted the council's Chief Finance Officer back in July on their behalf, to ask what the problem was but was assured the council was doing all it could settle payments. I am baffled as to why, over two months later, we are still no further along and the ladies are still being told the relevant forms from the council haven't arrived. These workers have waited a long enough as it is to receive money they are rightly owed."
A former council employee, who did not wish to be named, said:
"There really is no excuse to continue to leave us in limbo like this for the sake of sending out the relevant forms to our solicitors. We've had offers in writing which we have accepted, we're baffled as to what is causing the ongoing delay".
A lawyer for the union's solicitors, Thompsons, told Plaid Cymru such cases were dealt with through ACAS and councils would normally draw up the settlement. The delay is because neither Wrecsam Council nor ACAS will complete the work.
This delay allows Wrecsam Council to keep millions of pounds of reserves in the bank, while hundreds of women workers struggle to make ends meet.