A MOTION to determine the number of low paid women workers who missed out on equal pay compensation has been rejected by councillors.

Community Party councillor Jim Bollan proposed West Dunbartonshire compile a report on the workers and “average potential costs had all these claims been approved and made timeously”.

But SNP Councillor Caroline McAllister said the motion was “politicking at its worst”.

Cllr Bollan said: “I think we have a responsibility to take the first step. We need to get the information. We have a moral obligation to these women.

“It’s about equality and equal treatment. I think it’s important we go the extra mile.”

The council last year closed the door forever on women who did not claim or were unaware of the inequality. SNP councillors said the Labour Party failed to tackle the issue when they were in power.

Cllr McAllister moved an amendment against Cllr Bollan and told the full council meeting last week they had got independent legal advice and couldn’t go against it. And she questioned the use of public funds to tie staff up for six months to obtain figures for Cllr Bollan.

She said: “As elected members, we have a duty to operate within a legislative framework as well as taking decisions that are financially responsible, yet here is a motion on an issue that was fully explored in the past year causing great upset to the many workers, predominantly low paid female workers.

“I find myself wondering, what is the purpose of this motion. Who benefits from it?

“The time bar expired under the Labour administration last year.

“I fear this is politicking at its worst. It’s cruel.”

Labour Councillor Lawrence O’Neill said when they were in power, they, like other councils, awaited the “outcome of legal due diligence”.

He said: “Money was set aside to fully fund that. What we’re getting here is a number. The motion is calling for a report to identify people for whatever reason who may have missed out.”

The SNP’s Karen Conaghan hit back: “If you’re so intent on questioning the morals, where were your morals in the last administration? You could have taken action.”

Council leader Jonathan McColl brought in the personal connection of his mother having been one of those who missed out on the payment. He said he would love her to be eligible but the motion would not do that.

He said: “It’s a legal matter. We got legal opinion that told us it would be illegal to pay out this money.

“[The motion] would be a huge waste of resources on something we know would be illegal to do.

“By even bringing this motion we are giving false hope to people like my mother and other low paid women when each of us knows it’s illegal and we can’t do it.”

Cllr Bollan’s motion got 10 votes against Cllr McAllister’s amendment with 11 votes “to take no action”.