Motion 6. Water and the Future

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2013 Water, Environment & Transport Service Group
15 February 2013

With more of our companies imposing pay rises on our members, UU introducing spot rates and Scottish Water trying to get rises that are 100% performance based, it is obvious we are in for a rough ride in the not so distant future. Because we are higher paid than other groups in UNISON and the public doesn’t see us as saving lives or providing services there is not the level of sympathy for us from either the public or even from some other UNISON groups. Most people think we still work for the mystical ‘Water Board’. Changes to our final salary pension schemes in the privately owned companies have not been treated as seriously as other groups in UNISON because what they are being changed to is still better than the public sector is being offered.

Despite our employers being ‘hell-bent’ on racing each other to take us to the bottom, our rock bottom may always be higher than the other groups in UNISON.

Providing clean water and treating sewage and the ancillary operations that support these functions is an important and sometimes dangerous job. Without clean water very little is possible in the way of provision of public services, food and drink processing, agriculture and recreational facilities. It’s time we sold ourselves a bit better. It’s time the public knew we don’t work for the ‘Water Board’ but for foreign multinationals and private equity companies who can run rings round the regulators and despite huge profits take advantage of every tax loophole.

We ask that the Water Industry Sector Committee look at ways of positively campaigning to educate the general public about our industry and how important it is that good terms and conditions remain for present and future generations, so when the media reports on our pay demands we are not perceived as being greedy with our snouts in the trough.