Workers at Scottish Water will be consulted about strike action next week, after their employer issued a new pay structure and offered a below-inflation pay rise. 

Trade union Unison said it was unacceptable for a pay offer to be made and a new pay structure created without negotiation.  

Unison says the increase amounts to another real-terms pay cut, while the proposed changes will increase managers’ wages by up to £10,000 and reduce earnings for low-paid staff by £5,000.      

The union will ballot workers from Thursday (August 17) on whether to accept or reject this new pay structure, and also 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.     

Unison 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.” 

Scottish Water said it was engaging with the union on the pay rise and structural changes.

A spokesperson said: "We are continuing to negotiate and engage openly with trade unions on bringing forward a proposed modernised reward system which is fair and transparent.

"Employee surveys have clearly indicated that modernising pay and progression is much needed, with current arrangements having been in place for almost two decades.

"Having a clear and consistent way of describing jobs and how we value them will assist significantly as we continue to deliver service excellence for our customers across Scotland."