Thousands of workers at a water company Severn Trent are to be balloted for strikes in a row over pay.
Around 700 members of the GMB union who work for Coventry-based Severn Trent Water will vote on whether to launch a campaign of industrial action after rejecting a two per cent pay offer.
National officer Gary Smith said: This 2 per cent offer is the lowest in the industry and is well below inflation. It is not acceptable to GMB members.
Severn Trent Water has just announced the payment of a special dividend of s150 million to shareholders over and above the s100 million paid in the normal dividends.
Severn Trent have also increased bills to customers by 5.2 per cent, raising an additional s60 million which they have simply passed on to the shareholders.
Workers to be balloted include operatives, administration staff, supervisors and junior managers.
A spokesman for Severn Trent, which employs 5,000 people, said: "We are disappointed that the GMB union does not value the total reward package on offer which we believe is very competitive in the current market.
"The 2 per cent pay increase on base pay is the same for all employees, including executives and managers. 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 per cent on top.
"The last hosepipe ban in the Severn Trent region was back in 1996 and we have also announced record low levels of leakage, well ahead of regulatory targets. Additionally, we have pledged to invest a further £150 million this year to improve our infrastructure."