HUNDREDS of staff at Scottish Water are set to go on strike as a dispute over pay continues to escalate.

Unite has announced that 500 workers will go on strike in the coming weeks.

Members of the trade union voted 89% in favour of strike action after Unite accused Scottish Water bosses of bypassing collective bargaining processes involving unions over pay.

They have raised concerns about a new grading system which bosses are seeking to implement as part of the latest pay offer.

Waste water operatives, water treatment and burst repair workers, maintenance engineers, electricians and sewage tanker drivers all make up Unite’s membership at Scottish Water.

The union’s general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Scottish Water has got nobody to blame but itself for the mess it has created. It has refused to make our 500-strong membership a fair pay offer.

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“Instead, the boardroom has found the time, to award its new chief executive an eye-watering pay package. Unite fully support members in the fight for better jobs, pay and conditions at Scottish Water.”

The union has said it believes the strike action will impair Scottish Water’s ability to respond to water leakages, flooding and pollution.

However, it comes amidst concern about the wage of new chief executive Alex Plant.

Plant is being paid £295,000 a year, more than £20,000 higher than his predecessor.

Stephen Deans, Unite regional coordinating officer, added: “Scottish Water has refused to meaningfully engage with us on pay and over a proposed new grading structure.

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“Unite’s membership includes key frontline workers and without them Scotland’s ability to respond to any crisis stemming from waterworks, flooding and sewers is all but non-existent.”

“Double standards have gripped the upper echelons of Scottish Water and we will not let this go unopposed.

“Strike action is now inevitable unless Scottish Water make a reasonable pay offer for 2023 which is separate from negotiations on a new pay and grading structure.”

A Scottish Water spokesperson said: “We have not been fully informed by Unite of the results of their recent ballot and we remain committed to the conciliation process with the assistance of ACAS.

"Both sides have spent considerable time today in talks and we hope that these can continue, as we seek to achieve an outcome that is of benefit to all of our employees.

"Our view is that reforming our pay and grading structure to address many issues that our employees have made clear, is not something we would expect our unions to be resisting.

“We continue to seek negotiations with trade unions over what we consider to be a very fair and reasonable proposal.

"If agreed with our unions, this would increase every employee’s pay by at least 8% and reform our pay and grading structure in a way that our colleagues are asking us for.”