A HISTORIC tribunal hearing has heard how female workers at a council are due up to six-figure awards from equal pay claims going back over a decade.

In the first Scottish case where judges have been required to resolve the dispute over payment, it has emerged North Lanarkshire has been given a month to say how it intends to settle approximately £8million worth of cases for almost 400 female workers.

The claimants, mostly clerical workers and classrooms assistants, are now expecting the saga to come to a close with long-awaited payments in their bank accounts by the summer.

All previous claims in Scotland in the past decade have been resolved out-of-court, a move which also means individual awards are confidential. However yesterday's hearing in Glasgow led to several claims publicly mentioned for the first time, giving a clear indication of the scale of how much some women have been underpaid over the years.

At least one of the women is in line for an award of almost £100,000, with another due £60,000-plus. It is understood a significant number stand to receive between £40,000 and £50,000 with awards at the other end of the spectrum down to £3,000.

Disputes over interest payments and injuries have resulted in the case being the first where the Employment Tribunal has been required to hold a remedy hearing.

The Labour-run council, which has had a budget gap of £74million to bridge between 2013 and 2016, settled another long-running equal pay claim in the region of £70m for 4,000 workers last month.

The council said cash had been set aside for settlements and the latest payments would not impact on frontline services or the authority's saving plans.

However, the council's lawyer, Stephen Miller, said there could be an impact on meeting the May 18 date set by the tribunal due to "limited resources" and the ongoing processing of the 4,000 other claims.

But solicitor Carol Fox, of Fox and Partners, the firm which represented the women, later dismissed the claims of personnel issues, accusing North Lanarkshire of repeatedly seeking to slow the process.

Christine Rennie, a 60-year-old classroom assistant from Airdrie, is among those who will benefit from the awards. She said: "This is more for my two sons and two granddaughters as it is for me. Things we should've been doing but never had the money for."

Ms Fox said: "This council knew from 2004 it had no defence but carried on regardless, at great expense to the taxpayer.

"A number of claimants have died in the decade since this started. It's simply not acceptable..."

A council spokesman said: "The council has already settled thousands of equal pay claims worth tens of millions of pounds. We will continue our practice of settling equal pay claims where justified."