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  • by Karma Loveday

Scottish Water frontline workers to strike weekly for three months over pay and grades

Unite has announced plans for its 500 Scottish Water members to strike every Friday to Monday on a weekly basis for three months in a dispute over pay and grading.

The 48 days of action will begin on 10 November. Because most members are frontline, working as water and wastewater operatives, maintenance engineers, electricians and sewage tanker drivers, Unite said the strikes could “significantly impair” Scottish Water’s operations. Scottish Water said on Friday that it is putting contingency plans in place to minimise disruption to essential services ahead of the planned industrial action.

Unite said 89% supported the action, while 78% of Unison’s 1,100 Scottish Water members also endorsed strike action earlier this month.The unions complain that Scottish Water has tied this year’s pay offer to a new grading structure, which they argue should be negotiated separately.

Scottish Water said its proposal offered an in-year wage rise of at least 8% for employees and other benefits alongside a transformed grading structure which would offer clearer routes to future pay progression. This would replace arrangements which have been in place since the formation of Scottish Water 21 years ago and which it said employees had asked to be reformed.

Scottish Water chief operating officer, Peter Farrer, said: “We are dismayed the unions have taken this course of action over what is an exceptional proposal for our people. Scottish Water remains committed to reaching an agreement with our unions that avoids industrial action. This has been the case throughout the negotiations over the proposal to modernise a 21-year-old pay and grading structure and provide employees with an in-year award of at least 8% for all.”


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