Unite the union has today (31 October) confirmed that its membership in the Roads Department at Scottish Borders council (SBC) has voted for industrial action.

Following a two-week long industrial action ballot, Unite members by 77 per cent have voted to take strike action and by 84 per cent to take action short of a strike on a 76 per cent turnout. The ballot result follows the decision by SBC to draft in contracted workers in breach of the collective agreement between Unite and SBC.

The union's members previously took 24-hours of industrial action on 29 August in opposition to detrimental changes being imposed to their terms and conditions. SBC rather than seeking to reach a negotiated settlement with the union is utilising external contractors to conduct work normally carried out by Unite members.

Unite also believes that the payments being offered by SBC to contractors based in Edinburgh are in excess of the current payments offered to Unite members in the roads department. Industrial action will take place during the winter season when the roads workers maintain effective transport links and services in the borders region.

Willie Thomson, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “Rather than negotiate with Unite to settle this dispute Scottish Borders council has chosen to ignore its workers and spend taxpayers’ money on contractors at rates higher than what our members were offered. Unite members have overwhelmingly voted to fight against the attacks on their terms and conditions, and to protect the long-standing collective agreements we have in place. The workers are determined to be respected by their employer and they are righty aggrieved about the injustice being imposed on them."


For more information Willie Thomson on 07810157910.

Notes to editors:

  • Unite Scotland is the country's biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.