SCOTTISH Water workers could take strike action over claims the organisation attempted to force through changes to pay and conditions without agreement.

The GMB trade union consulted members on industrial action after accusing the body of acting in “bad faith” claiming they contacted staff directly to detail a pay offer linked to a new grading structure.

Unions say they are in formal dispute with Scottish Water and claim managers sent an email to all staff detailing a new proposed structure without consultation or agreement.

GMB Scotland say 91% of their members within the organisation turned out in the consultative ballot, with 83% supporting industrial action.

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The PA news agency understands other unions including Unite and Unison were also balloting members and results are expected to show the same support for action.

Unions say they will fix dates for formal ballots unless meaningful discussions with Scottish Water restart.

Claire Greer, GMB Scotland organiser, said: “Management has created this dispute by riding roughshod over every accepted procedure for negotiating with staff.

“Management now need to sort it out.

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“They have tried to divide and rule.

“They have tried to sideline the unions and go to the workers directly with a partial version of their plans but the workers have seen right through it.

“Instead of acting like a rogue employer and creating needless conflict and uncertainty, the company should be engaging constructively to resolve this dispute.”

A Scottish Water spokesperson said: “We continue to seek negotiations with trade unions over a very fair and reasonable proposal to increase every employee’s pay by at least 8% and modernise our pay structure in a way that our colleagues are demanding.”