England

Severn Trent Water workers balloted over pay

Water pouring from tap
Image caption Severn Trent has 5,000 workers

Workers at Severn Trent Water are being balloted over industrial action in a dispute over pay.

The GMB union said its members at the water firm had voted overwhelmingly to reject an "unacceptable" 2% pay offer.

National officer Gary Smith said: "This 2% offer is the lowest in the industry and is well below inflation."

Severn Trent said fewer than 700 of its 5,000 workers were GMB members and that its total reward package was "very competitive in the current market".

A spokeswoman for the firm said the 2% increase on base pay was the same for all employees, including executives and managers.

'Performance bonuses'

"Over and above this, we have an annual Reward for Performance bonus scheme, which will pay out in the region of £350 to £400 per person to eligible employees this year and we have also agreed to offer an additional 0.5% on top," she said.

However, Mr Smith said while offering staff a 2% pay rise, shareholders were to get a special dividend of £150m, which was "over and above" the £100m it normally paid.

"Severn Trent have also increased bills to customers by 5.2%, raising an additional £60m which they have simply passed on to the shareholders," Mr Smith claimed.

Severn Trent said eligible employees benefited from an allocation of free shares, which amounted to £309 per worker this year.

The firm, which serves East and West Midlands, added its customers paid the lowest average water and sewerage bills in England and Wales.

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