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  • by Trevor Loveday

Bristol defends "above inflation" pay offer as GMB calls strike

Bristol Water has defended its "above inflation" pay increase and one-off handout to staff after trade union, GMB, accused management at the firm of being "irresponsible" and called a strike for today (Tuesday 6 April) claiming 75% voted for strike action.


GMB has demanded a 3% increase for 2021-22 for its members at the company claiming the firm's 1.5% offer was "a real-terms pay cut."


Last year the company imposed a pay freeze for 2020-21when it was facing a squeeze on revenues under Ofwat's price review final determinations. A company spokesman told TWR that its pay offer this year factors in the higher revenues and returns that will arise from Bristol's successful appeal to the Competition and Markets Authority.


In a statement, Bristol Water's chief finance officer, Laura Flowerdew said, "We’ve offered a 1.5% pay rise which is higher than inflation for last year and this year (2021-22) combined. We also included a £500 non-consolidated payment for all staff." She said the £500 payment was "to compensate for last year’s pay freeze and to recognise the incredible work gone in over the last year."


Flowerdew went on to say the company 's teams were "working to ensure any customer impact due to the strike is kept to a minimum."


Bristol explained its above inflation claim for its offer on the grounds that the Consumer Price Index including Housing increase for 2020/21 was 0.8% and for 2021/ 22 it is forecast at 0.6% – a total of 1.4%.


GMB described Bristol's offered pay increase as "underwhelming". GMB regional organiser, Tim Northover, said: "Our members are fed up with being treated the worst of all the UK’s water workers."


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