A high-profile lawyer has called for an inquiry into Glasgow City Council’s £548m equal pay settlement.
Carol Fox, a former solicitor, who was instrumental in litigating against councils across Scotland, made the call following a BBC Disclosure programme.
Ms Fox said she was “troubled” that women who were represented by unions had paid fees, which were believed to be about 6.9% of each settlement.
She said the women should be given an “immediate refund”.
The Great Equal Pay Scandal documentary revealed that all 16,000 claimants who received a payout in the long-running equal pay dispute had legal fees deducted from their settlement.
This included women represented by unions which had told members they would not pay any costs.
A proportion of the legal fees went to private claims company called Action 4 Equality, run by lawyer Stefan Cross, which had represented the largest group of claimants.
Almost half of the settled claims were pursued by the three unions – Unison, GMB and Unite.
Ms Fox, who worked on the Glasgow equal pay claim until 2015, told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland: “The union women were always told they would get 100% of any settlement, that they didn’t pay fees.
“The Action 4 Equality women had a signed document where they knew that fees would be paid.”
She said: “I really do think there needs to be a full inquiry, whether that’s a parliamentary inquiry, an inquiry by the Law Society of Scotland, to look at what has happened here.
“I would call for the books of Action 4 Equality to be opened up to scrutiny.”
Ms Fox worked as a trade union lawyer before joining Action 4 Equality in 2008 and leaving in 2015. She had no part in the final negotiations for the current Glasgow settlement.
The former lawyer said: “Those people who can’t see the problem here, are very much part of the problem.”
In Monday night’s programme, Action 4 Equality’s Stefan Cross said “all claimants” had paid 6.9% in fees.
“They’re being paid by everybody,” he said. “All claimants. It’s a team effort.”
The three unions – GMB, Unison and Unite – told the programme no union claimants had paid legal fees, and none was left at a detriment from the deal.