Scottish Water gets green light for pay reforms

Utility group Scottish Water has narrowly avoided industrial unrest after
its 4,363-strong workforce voted to accept pay harmonisation across the
company.

The company confirmed that it passed the controversial measures by just
seven votes, with 1,690 staff voting for the reforms compared to 1,683
employees who were opposed.

The salary structure at Scottish Water will now be re-graded into six bands
with other conditions such as overtime payments and holiday entitlements also
being harmonised.

HR director Paul Pagliari said the ballot result demonstrated how changes
could be made through a working partnership. He said the new pay structure was
agreed by a 24-member company council, including shop stewards and union
officials, before going to a full staff ballot.

"I am absolutely delighted for Scottish Water and all of its
employees," he said.

The victory comes after some insiders claimed the changes would breach TUPE
staff transfer regulations, and would dent staff pensions and National
Insurance contributions.

The move is the latest in a series of changes at the company since its
formation through the merger of three separate regional councils. Scottish
Water was ordered by the Scottish Parliament to cut £1.45m from its operating
expenditure before 2006.

Early retirement and voluntary redundancy schemes, which include helping
employees to find other jobs in Scotland, have so far reduced the workforce by
more than 1,200.

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