SCOTTISH Water strikes planned for this weekend have been suspended after late night talks resulted in a new offer.

Staff staged a walkout last week with another strike planned for this weekend as part of 48 days of action due to continue into the new year.

Members of the GMB, Unite and Unison unions have been fighting against the publicly-owned firm’s proposals for a new pay structure, which they claim they were not consulted on.

After a meeting moderated by Acas – which is understood to have lasted until around 11pm on Wednesday – the decision was taken to suspend strike action to allow members to be balloted on new proposals.

Peter Farrer, chief operating officer at Scottish Water, said: “We are delighted to have reached an agreement with the joint trade unions which provides our employees with a route to an exceptional pay award and a modern pay and grading system and halts immediate further industrial action.

“Union members will be balloted on the proposal shortly and we hope for a positive outcome.”

Speaking to the PA news agency last week, Patricia McArthur, the Scottish Water branch secretary for Unison, accused the company of holding a proposed 8% pay rise “to ransom” because workers would not agree to the new grading structure.

“We’re on strike because Scottish Water are basically holding our cost-of-living rise to ransom,” she said.

“They’re trying to force the staff to accept a new pay and grading system that’s not been collectively bargained by the unions and we have some serious concerns about the content of it.

“We are just looking to get a decent cost-of-living rise before Christmas, we’re looking to work with Scottish Water to try and come up with a pay and grading system that is going to be good for everyone.”