Date: Wed 12 November 2008
A ballot of 1100 Scottish water workers has delivered a 65% majority for strike action, the main union UNISON announced today. A meeting of the UNISON Scottish Water Branch Committee being held today (Wednesday) will decide the union's next steps in the dispute over pay.
The ballot was called after Scottish Water imposed a pay award worth 2.4% over 12 months on their employees. UNISON members were infuriated at this action from the employers but also rejected the level of the award. Now UNISON members will pursue their fight for an improved offer with strike action. The form of the action will be decided later and in conjunction with the other trade unions, but is likely to consist of action involving all members.
Dave Wilkinson, Chair of UNISON's Scottish Water Branch said:
"This result clearly shows the level of anger at Scottish Water's imposition of a pay award and is also a clear rejection of an inadequate award. Not only have the employers acted irresponsibly in this matter but their award falls far short of inflation which currently is running at 5%. We have a window of opportunity to see if we can avoid disruptive strikes, I hope the employers take it and come back to the bargaining table to negotiate an improved offer."
Steve Scott, Branch Secretary of UNISON's Scottish Water Branch said:
"Our members are not the cause of inflation, they are the victims of it. Scottish Water is a highly successful public corporation and can afford to pay more. In recent years our members have saved the organisation well over £1 billion through reduced operating costs and improved efficiencies. It is now time for Scottish Water to recognise the contribution of the workers and reward our members with a fair and proper pay award."
For Further Information Please Contact:
Dougie Black (Regional Organiser) - 07958 121 851 (m)
Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser) - 07958 122 409 (m)
Dave Wilkinson (Branch Chair) - 07875 872 819 (m)
Steve Scott (Branch Secretary) - 07875 879 388 (m)
Notes to Editors:
UNISON is one of Scotland's largest trade unions representing over 160,000 members, and is the biggest union in the Scottish Water industry. Our 1,100 members in Scottish Water work in offices and depots throughout Scotland. They are represented in all the functions of the authority, including water and sewage treatment, water and sewer networks, laboratories, call centres and the design and construction of capital works.
Scottish Water is a publicly owned corporation established in 2002 and accountable to the Scottish Government. It provides water services to 2.4 million households and thousands of business and public sector customers in Scotland and employs around 3,700. Scottish Water has an annual turnover of over £1 billion. In 2007/8 Scottish Water delivered £625 million of Quality and Standards (Q&S) investment to improve treatment works, water mains, sewers and networks, and made a surplus of £195 million. Cost efficiencies totalling £1 billion in the corporation's first four years were passed on to customers.
The latest figure for the Retail Price Index inflation measure is 5.0% for the 12 month period to September 2008. The Government's preferred CPI figure was 5.2% for the same period. Source: Office for National Statistics, 14 October 2008. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?ID=19
In September 2008 Scottish Water breached six years of partnership working with its staff in order to impose a 15 month pay rise of 3% (which equates to an annual offer of 2.4%). The UNISON Scotland strike ballot began on Tuesday 21 October and closed on Monday 10 November.
UNISON Scotland news releases:
Stay in touch with UNISON Scotland's latest news releases on our website http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/news/index.html and frequent updates on our blog http://unison-scotland.blogspot.com/