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Workers back industrial action at Scottish Water

Friday, September 1, 2023

Scottish Water workers back strike action after managers’ pay ploy

Workers at Scottish Water have overwhelmingly backed strike action after managers were accused of trying to force through changes to pay and conditions without agreement.

GMB Scotland balloted members on industrial action after accusing the water company of bad faith after contacting staff directly to detail a pay offer linked to a new grading structure.

Trade unions are in formal dispute with Scottish Water after managers sent an email to all staff detailing the proposed structure without consultation or agreement.

A consultative ballot of GMB members closed today and, of a 91% turnout, 83% supported taking industrial action.  Other unions are also balloting members with results expected to show the same support for action.

The unions will now fix dates for a formal ballot unless Scottish Water restarts meaningful negotiations.

The GMB has accused the publicly-owned firm of acting like a “rogue employer” by combining an annual pay offer with a restructuring of salaries and grades, which, they say, will limit the wages of many lower-paid workers in the years ahead.

Claire Greer, GMB Scotland organiser, said the ballot result was no surprise given the strength of feeling among staff.

She said the company should do everything possible to avert industrial action while it still can, adding: “Management has created this dispute by riding roughshod over every accepted procedure for negotiating with staff. Management now need to sort it out.

“They have tried to divide and rule. They have tried to sideline the unions and go to the workers directly with a partial version of their plans but the workers have seen right through it.

“Instead of acting like a rogue employer and creating needless conflict and uncertainty, the company should be engaging constructively to resolve this dispute.”