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Unions accept pay deal following strike at Scottish Water

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Laura Paterson, PA Scotland

05 December, 2023 17:47

Union members who went on strike at Scottish Water have accepted a pay deal.

Unite said its 500-strong membership at the utilities firm backed the joint deal by 98% in a consultative ballot, while GMB members voted by 95% in favour.

Unison said its 1,100 Scottish Water members “overwhelmingly” backed the deal.

Members of the three unions staged a walkout last month but suspended a further strike planned as part of 48 days of action after the new offer was made, to ballot members on the new proposals.

The pay deal involves an 8% pay rise which also applies to all overtime, call out and standby rates worked since April 2023, Unite said.

The union also said the working week would be cut to 35 hours without loss of pay in November next year.

The controversial new grading structure at Scottish Water will now be negotiated separately from the pay offer.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Let’s be clear this deal only came about through the determination of our members to fight for a better deal through strike action.”

Unison Scotland regional organiser for Scottish Water Emma Phillips said: “The ballot settles this year’s pay claim. Now we go into negotiations around a new pay and grading structure. Unison are determined this will deliver fairness and transparency.”

Claire Greer, GMB’s organiser at Scottish Water, said: “This was a dispute that could have easily been avoided by a management which understood the importance of good industrial relations and the need to negotiate with unions in good faith.”

Peter Farrer, Scottish Water chief operating officer, said: “We are delighted we can make a back-dated in-year award of 8%, payable in December, following a ballot of joint trade union members which resulted in agreement from the workforce.

“This has only been made possible by retaining the connection of the pay award to modernising our reward foundations which gives us the ability to go beyond the level of award permissible under the Public Sector Pay Strategy.

“We are fully committed to working with our unions to ensure a reviewed pay and grading structure is in place by March 2024.”

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