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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 September 2006, 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK
Legal threat over equal pay row
David Alexander
Council leader David Alexander said there had been union talks
One of Scotland's largest unions has threatened legal action against a council after claiming it had forced new contracts on 5,000 employees.

Falkirk Council said the offer was required to meet equal pay laws, but GMB Scotland claimed it discriminated against female employees.

The authority said it had added 2.5m a year to the wage budget to meet the costs of the Single Status Agreement.

However the union said is was evident that employees did not like the offer.

GMB Scotland claimed that, under the move, some employees could lose up to 7,000 a year, school classroom assistants' pay would drop by 3,000 and personal home carers would receive only "marginal increases".

'Industrial action'

The union's Falkirk Council organiser Brian Negus said: "The GMB is looking at all options available to us.

"If we can stop this by legal means we shall. If we need to ballot for industrial action we shall. If we need to take up individual cases for discrimination we shall."

Falkirk Council leader David Alexander said almost half of employees had accepted new contracts.

"Having exhausted all other options Falkirk Council has now offered new contracts to those employees who have not yet accepted," he said.

"All of this has been done after lengthy and detailed consultation and negotiations with all the trades unions, who chose not to ballot their members on the council's offer."

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