Unite the union has today (14 August) confirmed that its membership in the roads department at Scottish Borders council (SBC) will hold 24 hours of industrial action on the 29 August. In June, 86.4 per cent of Unite’s members voted for strike action, and 95.7 per cent for action short of a strike, in a 78 per cent turnout.

The day of industrial action coincides with a full council meeting where a rally and protest will take place outside SBC headquarters at Bowden Road, Newtown St Boswells.

The dispute follows a series of detrimental changes being imposed by SBC to the terms and conditions of Unite’s membership in the local authority’s roads department. The changes include a reduction in pension accrual as a result of cuts to pensionable overtime rates, and the removal of paid travel time.

Willie Thomson, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “Unite will hold a day of industrial action on 29 August to coincide with the full meeting of Scottish Borders council to ensure elected representatives and officials fully understand the anger of our members. The workers in the roads department have been treated with contempt and the latest efforts by the council to draft in contracted workers to cover workers taking action is disgraceful. Instead of positively engaging with the workers and Unite, the council seem intent on escalating the dispute. Unite will explore every legal avenue to challenge this aggressive action."

"Unite also believes that there is a strong legal case that workers are being offered unlawful financial inducements to break the existing collective bargaining agreements. If this is the case, then Scottish Borders council could end up facing a legal bill for more than £160,000, which is a fraction of the cost required to settle this dispute. Unite would, once again, urge Scottish Borders council to get back round the negotiating table to settle this dispute, which we believe can be easily achieved if councillors swiftly intervene.”


For more information Willie Thomson on 07810157910.

Notes to editors:

  • Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.