The trade unions Unite Scotland, GMB Scotland and UNISON Scotland have jointly informed Scottish Water over a consultative ballot for industrial action, which opens today (18 March), in a dispute over pay. 

The Joint Trade Unions are demanding a return to proper negotiations amid a pay and bonuses row which could mean Scottish Water workers losing up to £3,000.  

A number of Scottish Water workers have already lost between £500 - £1000 through the removal of the supplement payment which averages overtime hours worked over a year. The payment covered workplace issues such as standby and emergency works.  However, Scottish Water have now imposed a new workplace system which reduces the supplemental payment and workers will now not be paid for working any additional hours.

James O’Connell, Unite industrial officer said: “Unite is launching a consultative ballot at Scottish Water due to management imposing decisions which significantly affect the pay of the workforce. The decisions which have been unilaterally made by management could mean some workers losing up to £3,000 a year.

"We can’t understand why Scottish Water has chosen to take this incendiary course of action without even talking to the trade unions. Unite is demanding that the money which has been deducted so far be reimbursed to those workers affected by Scottish Water and management enter into meaningful negotiations with us before this dispute escalates to inevitable industrial action.”

GMB Scotland Organiser Gary Cook added: “It’s shameful opportunism in the grip of a public health crisis and shows how poorly Scottish Water value their workers. This is the kind of behaviour you would expect from a rogue employer, not a statutory corporation, and our unions have been left with no choice but to ballot our members.

"Scottish Water bosses are accountable to all of us, yet this pay cut imposition completely ignores the fair work principles the Scottish Government claims to promote, so this is also a test for Ministers as well.”

Emma Phillips, UNISON regional organiser for Scottish Water said: “Scottish waste-water team leaders have been working throughout the pandemic keeping Scotland clean and safe. They travel the length and breadth of Scotland dealing with waste and sewage emergencies. They are vital workers.

"It is not acceptable that Scottish Water are unilaterally proposing to cut pay cut of this workforce by up to £3000 per year. Scottish Water must get round the table and listen to staff this. UNISON and the other unions have no choice but to start a consultative ballot for industrial action."   

ENDS