GLASGOW City Council has this morning signed off a £548 million equal-pay settlement with nearly 16,000 current and former employees after spending the past two weeks ironing out the finer points of the deal.

Last month council leader Susan Aitken reached an agreement in principle with the representatives of the female-dominated group of claimants, with the council’s City Administration Committee meeting to ratify the final agreement today.

Ms Aitken said she was "delighted to have won backing for a deal that finally delivers pay justice for thousands of women in our workforce".

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“When I became council leader in 2017, I promised I’d bring to an end more than a decade of inaction on equal pay," she said.

“A year ago, we began negotiations and, today, the council formally agreed a plan to pay women at Glasgow City Council what they are owed.

“That starts to put right a wrong that has damaged the council, its workforce and the city for too long.

“I want to thank the women for their determination, their dedication to the city and its people, and for trusting me to deliver what they have always deserved."

The women are expected to start receiving their payments, which will average £34,000 and could be as high as £100,000, in June.

Since the deal was announced on January 17 almost 2,000 additional claims have been filed, bringing the total number of claimants to close to 16,000. The vast majority of that number is made up of female caring, catering and cleaning staff although a small number of men, including 300 janitors, is also included.

While it was not initially clear whether the council would accept the most recent claims, it is understood that it agreed to do so yesterday, clearing the way for the deal to be signed. Had the agreement not been reached the matter would have returned to the Employment Tribunal later this month, with a hearing scheduled for February 20.

The only point that now remains to be agreed between the local authority and the claimants’ trade union and legal representatives is whether the period being paid out for will end in 2017 or 2018, with the council expecting to have a clearer view of how far the £548m will go by next month.

It is thought that the authority favours the later cut-off date because, while that would result in larger payments overall, it would reduce the amount of interest it would have to pay on each individual settlement.

How long a period individual claimants will be paid for depends on when their claim was filed, with Scots law stipulating that such settlements can only be backdated for five years. That means the women filing in the last two weeks will receive just five years’ worth of back pay while those who filed soon after the council’s unfair pay scheme was implemented in 2007 will receive 12 years’ worth.

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As the council’s female employees will continue to be paid unfairly for the time being due to its discredited pay scheme remaining in place, a further settlement will be made to all eligible claimants once a new system has been agreed.

The council expects it to take at least two years to devise the new system, meaning the later settlement is likely to cover the period from either 2017 or 2018 to 2021.

The 2,000 potenially eligible women who have not yet filed a claim will be able to do so later this year in order to be part of that second settlement.

Last week the council released a report detailing how it intends to fund the settlement, confirming that buildings including the Riverside Museum, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and Scotstoun Leisure Centre will be sold to and leased back from wholly owned arms-length organisation City Property Glasgow Investments, which will raise finance against them.

City Property will also refinance a loan taken out in 2010. That is expected to release a significant sum as a result of the assets the loan is secured against increasing in value over the past nine years.