HUNDREDS of Scottish Water workers will walk out multiple times over the next three months amid an escalating dispute.

Unite has confirmed some 500 staff will take 48 days of strike action in several rounds from next month through to the end of January.

It comes amid a pay and grading dispute, with 89% of the membership eventually voting for industrial action.

The dispute centres on Unite accusing Scottish Water bosses of bypassing long-standing collective bargaining processes involving trade unions.

This relates to a new "reward system" which Scottish Water bosses are trying to impose on the workforce which is also being tied to the 2023 pay offer.

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The trade union believes the strike action will significantly impair Scottish Water’s ability to respond to water leakages, flooding, pollution, and drinking water quality concerns during the autumn and winter.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham, said: “Unite’s 500-strong membership at Scottish Water has sent a crystal clear message to management that their behaviour will no longer be tolerated.

“Scottish Water has created this mess through their own arrogance and insatiable greed in the boardroom despite it being a public body.

“Unite will fully support our members in the fight for better jobs, pay and conditions at Scottish Water. Be in no doubt that we will hold management to account.”

The union says pipe repairs on roads and highways will not be repaired by Unite members on the scheduled days of action and they would also not be available to undertake work relating to any sewer flooding issues and the associated environmental impact of failing sewage works.

The first round of strike action will begin on November 10 and end on November 13 with the last round starting on January 26 and ending on January 29.

Every round of action will begin at 00.01 on a Friday and end at 23.59 on a Monday.

The trade union’s membership includes waste water operatives, water treatment and burst repair operatives, maintenance engineers, electricians and sewage tanker drivers. 

Stephen Deans, Unite regional coordinating officer, added: “Scottish Water has paid lip service to our major concerns over pay which is being tied to a proposed new grading structure.

“The talks which have taken place with Scottish Water management following our membership emphatically backing strike have been in effect useless. Unite has therefore been left with no option but to serve notice of 48 days strike action over three months.”

The strike action announcement comes after Alex Plant, the new chief executive of Scottish Water, came under fire for earning a reported annual salary of £295,000 in breach of the Scottish Government’s public sector pay rules.

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