More than 1,000 Scottish Water workers are set to be balloted on potential strike action, a union has said.
Unison is set to begin the consultative ballot of its members – which include strategic planners, tanker drivers, scientists, sewage operators, technical specialists, engineers, accountants, water operatives and hydraulic modellers – next week.
The union said the ballot is in response to Scottish Water issuing a new pay structure and which offers a below-inflation pay rise.
It added that it was “unacceptable” for a pay offer to be made and a new pay structure created without negotiation, with the increase amounting to “another real-terms pay cut”
The proposed changes will increase managers’ wages by up to £10,000 and reduce earnings for low-paid staff by £5,000, Unison said.
Workers will be balloted from August 17, on whether to accept or reject the new pay structure, and ask if they are willing to take strike action over wages.
If Scottish Water staff vote in favour of action, Unison will launch a strike ballot about taking action in the autumn.
The union’s Scottish Water branch secretary, Patricia McArthur, said: “This could have so easily have been avoided.
“As Scottish Water is still a public sector employer, unlike other water providers in the UK, it shouldn’t be resorting to such heavy-handed management practices.
“Scottish Water must get around the table for proper talks. Any new pay structure must be fair and have the full confidence of staff. Otherwise it won’t stand the test of time and the public will be short-changed.”
Unison Scotland regional organiser, Emma Phillips, said: “It’s imperative staff are genuinely consulted on these proposals and it takes time to get these things right.
“Scottish Water is behaving like a rogue employer. It can’t just railroad things through without talking to Unison, which represents most staff.
“It’s outrageous managers are trying to push for more pay while those on lower incomes will get considerably less.”