Scottish Water – 78% vote for strike action

UNISON members at Scottish Water have voted for strike action over a pay dispute at the publicly owned utility. 78% of UNISON’s 1100 members in Scottish Water voted for strike action.


Scottish Water are tying their cost of living pay offer to a new pay and grading structure.   There have been no meaningful negotiations with the trade unions about that new pay and grading structure. In fact Scottish Water bosses have been withholding information from the trade unions.   

UNISON Regional Organiser, Emma Phillips said:

“It seems that Scottish Government’s Fair Work and equality commitments don’t matter in our biggest and most precious public asset .


“There is a feeling amongst members that Scottish Water bosses are behaving like Victorian Mill owners  – and this overwhelming vote for strike action is a reflection of how staff feel they are being treated”


“We met with ACAS on the 16th October in an attempt to resolve matters.  Unfortunately  there was no positive progress made.  We remain committed to resolving  this dispute  and have a further  meeting early next week, however we are clear this is make or break”

UNISON and the other unions want to negotiate a new pay and grading structure with Scottish Water, but this is a complex process that relies on accurate data.   It is not going to be resolved quickly and these discussions need to be separated from any cost of living pay offer.  

“The key workers at Scottish Water need their overdue cost of living pay rise now.


Notes for editors

Results for industrial action in the form of strike action

Voting “Yes”:             78.07%             

Voting “No”:               21.93%

Turnout:                     70.76%

The result for in favour of industrial action short of strike action was 86%. 

All three unions (UNISON, Unite & GMB)  in Scottish Water have now voted for strike action.Scottish Water unions and management have talks at ACAS on Monday 23 Oct. If a settlement is not reached then unions will meet shortly afterwards to decide on strike action.

UNISON members in Scottish Water across all areas of water and sewage supply and maintenance

Scottish Water are signatories to the Scottish Government’s Fair Work convention – supposedly giving workers an “effective voice” in the workplace”