By Bill Heaney
However, the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Net Zero and Just Transition, Màiri McAllan, has told MSPs: ” Those on-going pay negotiations are, of course, a matter for Scottish Water, as the employer, on one hand and the unions on the other.
“However, I understand that, as Mr Leonard narrates, Scottish Water has been notified by the three recognised unions of industrial action, starting from Friday 10 November. I encourage all parties to continue negotiations to resolve the dispute.”
Minister Mairi McAllan and Labour’s Richard Leonard clash on Scottish Water strike.
Richard Leonard told Ms McAllan: “When the three Scottish Water trade unions—Unite, Unison and the GMB—came to Parliament on Tuesday, they were determined. Since the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service talks broke up at 2.30 this morning, they are angry.
“The cabinet secretary simply cannot claim that those negotiations are solely a matter for Scottish Water. The Scottish Government wholly owns Scottish Water.
“The planned pay cut to the lowest-paid workers is a flagrant breach of the Scottish Government’s fair work principles.
“The last time we were so close to a Scottish Water strike, back in 2008, the then finance secretary stepped in—I know, because I was there. With 12 hours to go before the strike, will the cabinet secretary come out of hiding, break her silence and get this dispute settled?”
But Màiri McAllan insisted: “I repeat that, contrary to Mr Leonard’s characterisation, the pay negotiations are a matter for Scottish Water on the one hand and the unions on the other. He is quite right that further talks were conducted last night, and they went on into the early hours of the morning.
“I understand that they were positive although inconclusive. Contingency plans are in place for strike action and a further meeting is scheduled with ACAS for 15 November.”