Defined Benefit Pensions in WET sectors

Conference notes with concern the terrible situation faced by pensioners in Carillion’s pension schemes, following the collapse of the company with a huge pension deficit outstanding. Conference further notes that Carillion paid high levels of executive and director pay, and bonuses, and substantial dividends to shareholders, while not addressing the deficits in its pension schemes. […]

Potential impact on jobs in water, environment and transport of the Government’s 25 year environment plan

Conference notes the publication in early 2018 of the Government’s 25 year Environment Plan. Environmental stakeholders welcomed its publication, and the long-term vision which it suggested, but were concerned that there were very few concrete policy and legislative measures contained within it. Conference shares these concerns, in particular over the lack of measures that would […]

Automation, artificial intelligence and robotics in the Water Industry

Conference notes that water and wastewater companies will be including increased use of automation, artificial intelligence and robotics in their business plans for AMP7 (PR19) that they will be submitting to Ofwat. Surveys of senior executives in various industries show that organisations believe the combination of humans and machine intelligence will create a more effective, […]

Protecting members’ jobs through assuring good environmental standards following E U exit (Brexit)

Conference recognises that after the UK’s departure from the EU, the European Commission will no longer fulfil the vital function of overseeing and assuring the UK Government’s legislative and policy efforts to maintain and improve our environment. It notes that DEFRA Secretary of State, Michael Gove has proposed a new UK-based body to fulfil this […]

Use of consultants and day-rate contractors in the Water Industry

Conference notes that water and wastewater companies are increasingly using very expensive consultants and contractors – some on day-rates as high as £1,000 or more. This is especially prevalent in the run up to each five-yearly Price Review, the current one being towards PR19. The reasons given by the companies include: a. the low number […]

Stress in call centres and operational centres

Conference notes that many water, environment agency and transport (WET) service group members work in call centres and operational centres where they take calls from operational colleagues and customers. While most callers are reasonable, there is always a proportion that are unreasonable and some who are extremely abusive. In workplaces with generally high levels of […]

Inclusive workplace policies

Conference celebrates UNISON’s work over the past 25 years to promote women’s equality and participation and to tackle sexism and sex discrimination at work, in our union and across society. Like other service groups, the WET service group has a majority of women members and our rules and practices to encourage women’s participation are vital […]

Essential Water Company employees are underpaid

Conference notes that water and wastewater companies have a regular (usually annual) opportunity, when pay talks are undertaken, to lift the wages of their lowest paid – but essential – employees. Conference in particular notes that many employee groups in the Water Industry are adversely affected because their level of pay is compared to that […]

Zero hours and Black workers

Recent news has reported that the number of people that are unemployed has hit a record low. What these statistics do not report is that a large proportion of this is due to the increase in zero hours contracts. Employers have increasingly been turning to zero hours contracts as part of the general attack on […]

The role of markets in delivering Water Services

Conference notes that Ofwat in their publication Water 2020 have declared an intention to look to promote markets to deliver services in Water Resources and Bio-resources. Following the collapse of Carillion and the ramifications on public services is it not clear that a ‘markets’ based strategy could have similar devastating consequences for both the public […]

WET e-learning – is it up to the Job?

Quality training and development is important to our members. Yorkshire Water recently closed its training centre in favour of pushing more e-learning onto desktop PCs in the workplace. The list of benefits to WET companies is endless. Massive cost savings are achieved by closing training centres, no course materials, no travel time, less work disruption […]

Health and Safety Reps standby

This conference notes the ever-increasing need for safety improvements in the WET sector. Yorkshire Water Branch would like the sector to adopt the approach being taking at Kelda where we have formed a health and safety representative’s standby rota. It has been designed for union health and safety reps to get called out to investigate […]

The push for upper quartile – The ignored impact on employees

As conference will be aware Ofwat is pushing forward it’s vision for the water sector commencing in 2020. A major part of this is to push competition between the water companies harder than before. The phrase ‘upper quartile’ in now bandied about as the place to be and those who are not ‘upper quartile’ will […]

The Push towards Homeworking – ‘Good or Bad’?

Conference is aware that homeworking has increased substantially in recent years and is only going to continue in the future, as sector WET companies continue to cut overheads, save space, encourage flexible working and require an agile workforce. Yorkshire Water are currently encouraging their workforce (office based) to consider working from home at least 1 […]

Equality e-Learning within WET companies

All employees regardless of age, ethnicity, sexual orientation and any disability are to be treated equally and have equal access to opportunities. They must have a sense of belonging at work. They must feel respected and valued for who they are and have a level of supportive energy and commitment from others so that they […]