South Scotland

Scottish Borders road workers set to strike

Road work sign Image copyright Getty Images

Road workers in the Scottish Borders are to strike over changes to their terms and conditions.

Unite members will stage a protest and rally on 29 August outside the local authority headquarters in Newtown St Boswells.

Regional industrial officer Willie Thomson said they wanted councillors to understand the "anger of our members".

Scottish Borders Council (SBC) said the terms and conditions had been agreed with unions, including Unite.

In June, 86.4% of Unite's members voted for strike action, and 95.7% for action short of a strike, on a 78% turnout.

The dispute centres on a number of issues including mandatory summer standby payments which the council says would help it avoid pay discrimination claims.

The union said the changes would also see cuts to pensionable overtime rates and the removal of paid travel time.

'Treated with contempt'

"The workers in the roads department have been treated with contempt and the latest efforts by the council to draft in contracted workers to cover workers taking action is disgraceful," said Mr Thomson.

"Instead of positively engaging with the workers and Unite, the council seems intent on escalating the dispute.

"Unite will explore every legal avenue to challenge this aggressive action."

He urged the council to get "back round the negotiating table" to settle the dispute.

Scottish Borders Council said it had not employed any agency workers during the ongoing action by the union.

'Fairly and equitably'

"The council is applying the agreed terms and conditions of employment which were negotiated and agreed with the recognised trades unions, including Unite who are a part of that agreement," it said.

"The council values its staff and is committed to ensuring they are treated fairly and equitably, whichever service they work within. 

"There had been an anomaly in the overtime rate paid to a very small number of staff within the roads section, which has been addressed.

"This provides consistency and equity across the organisation."

The council said it would continue to engage with the union and it was confident that its contingency plans would ensure the industrial action did not affect services.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites