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Date: Wed 26 November 2008

Scottish Water pay strike going ahead

More than a thousand members of UNISON Scotland who work for Scottish Water will begin a 24 hour strike tomorrow (Thursday 27 November) in pursuit of their claim for a fair pay increase. The action will be going ahead from 12 noon on Thursday (27 November) through to 12 noon on Friday (28 November).

It will affect Scottish Water operations across the whole country. UNISON Scotland is taking action jointly with Unite and GMB, the other unions represented in Scottish Water. Dougie Black, UNISON's main negotiator, said: "It is unfortunate that Scottish Water has not take the chance to reconsider the issue prior to tomorrow's action. "Clearly it is an issue which our members feel very strongly about.

"I would invite Scottish Water and the Scottish Government, even at this late stage to come back to the negotiating table. We are always ready to talk about a way to settle this dispute."

UNISON Scotland believes that Scottish Water - a highly successful public corporation, which answers to the Scottish Government - can afford to pay more than the rise of 3% over 15 months which it has imposed on staff. The deal is effectively worth 2.4% this year while inflation has been running at more than twice that rate. The union has called on the Scottish Government, which is blocking a fair pay deal, and Scottish Water to recognise the contribution of staff, and reward its members with a fair and proper pay award.

Dave Watson, Scottish Organiser, said: "In recent years our members workers have helped to save Scottish Water over £1 billion through reduced operating costs and improved efficiencies. Customers and directors have benefited, while workers have faced real terms pay cuts due to inflation.

"Scottish Water has the money to make a reasonable pay deal - the problem is the Scottish Government is blocking them from doing so."


For Further Information Please Contact: Dougie Black (Regional Organiser) - 07958 121 851 (m) Malcolm Burns (Information Development Officer) - 0141 342 2811 Dave Wilkinson (UNISON Scottish Water Branch Chair) - 07875 872 819 (m) Steve Scott (UNISON Scottish Water Branch Secretary) - 07875 879 388 (m)


Notes for Editors UNISON is one of Scotlandís 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. 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%). In November 2008 UNISONís Scottish Water Branch members voted by 2-1 in a ballot to take strike action for fair pay.

Further information on the Scottish Water strike is available on our website at: http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/water/waterpay.html This includes the UNISON Scotland briefing to MSPs: http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/briefings/MSPBriefingScottishWaterPayStrikeNov08.pdf in support of the motion S3M-02939 Scottish Water Dispute lodged by Bill Butler MSP in the Scottish Parliament: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/Apps2/business/