GMB Scotland, Unite Scotland and Unison Scotland have joined forces for the consultative ballot which opens on Thursday, and are demanding a return to proper negotiations in a pay and bonuses row.
The unions say the issue could result in workers losing up to £3,000 – with some already having lost £500 to £1,000 “through the removal of the supplement payment which averages overtime hours worked over a year”.
But Scottish Water has imposed a new system which the unions say “reduces the supplemental payment and workers will now not be paid for working any additional hours” – leading to the consultation over strikes.
GMB Scotland organiser Gary Cook described it as “shameful opportunism in the grip of a public health crisis.
He added: “This is the kind of behaviour you would expect from a rogue employer, not a statutory corporation, and our unions have been left with no choice but to ballot our members.
“Scottish Water bosses are accountable to all of us, yet this pay cut imposition completely ignores the fair work principles the Scottish Government claims to promote, so this is also a test for ministers as well.”
James O’Connell, Unite industrial officer, said: “Unite is demanding that the money which has been deducted so far be reimbursed to those workers affected by Scottish Water and management enter into meaningful negotiations with us before this dispute escalates to inevitable industrial action.”