Around 40 water workers and supporters protested outside the Queen’s hotel in Leeds on Thursday 26th November where the Northern Consumer Council was holding a meeting.
Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party
The workers, GMB members from United Utilities, Northumbrian Water, Yorkshire Water and Hartlepool Water, were angry at the rampant profiteering of the companies which have seen debt levels & consumer prices rise and are attacking workers pensions at two of the companies.
I spoke to workers from United Utilities who told me that after the company conducted a regrading exercise a few years ago they had promised in the future to consult with the trade union and workforce more widely in the future.
Yet as a result of a recent cryptosporidium outbreak, the comp-0any has had to pay out compensation to 300,000 customers. Despite union reps raising the understaffing of the company over a period of time, it has taken action by the regulator to force the company to take on the extra staff needed. But to pay for this, United Utilities are planning on closing their defined benefit scheme.
A dispute is also underway at Northumbrian Water where the company are attacking the final salary pension scheme.
For more on Cryptosporidium see the article in the Socialist 546.