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Date: Mon 3 March 2008

UNISON proposes greater democratic control of Scotland's water

UNISON, the largest union representing Scotland's water and sewage workers will today suggest that any review of the way Scottish Water functions, should strongly consider increasing the democratic control of the service rather than looking at privatisation.

Dave Watson, UNISON's Scottish Organiser will speak at a Conference on the future of Scotland's water in Edinburgh today (3rd March). He will reject further commercialisation of water and argue for more direct control by elected bodies. The union has strongly campaigned against privatisation and so-called ‘mutualisation' which it says is simply a smokescreen for private ownership.

Dave Watson will say: "Now that attempts by the private sector to target international development of water services have been exposed and the fight back against commodification of water has gained successes, the big companies are turning back to the developed world to try and make their profits.

"Scottish Water, and its UNISON members, is delivering investment, efficiency and lower water charges, and the private sector is eyeing its success with some greed, but what is required is greater accountability, not privatisation.

"UNISON, along with the STUC and the other unions involved in the water industry have been engaged in the debate about the future of Scottish Water, and we all believe that there should be greater democratisation of the service, so we want any review to clearly address proposals to deliver that accountability”


Note for Editors: Turning the Tide: The Future of Scotland's Water - a Holyrood Conference, is in the Hilton Edinburgh Grosvenor Hotel from 09.30am on Monday 3 March 2008 The unions have produced a discussion paper It's Scotland's Water that outlines some ways to allow greater accountability for Scottish Water, and how important the service is for public health and socio-economic development. It is available on the UNISON website at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/water/scotland's_water.pdf

See also The UNISON Scotland response to the Scottish Government consultation paper Paying for Water Services 2010-14 (pdf)

For Further Information Please Contact: Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser) 0870 7777 006 (w) 07958 122 409 (m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0870 7777 006(w) 0771 558 3729(m)