Our History

UNISON members in the water industry include engineers, scientists, technicians, industrial workers and staff working in offices and call centres.

They deliver a safe and wholesome drinking water supply, maintain the sewerage system, provide a wide range of customer services and staff the phone lines for emergency calls from the public.

Working in the water industry can be hazardous, so our first concern is good health and safe working for everyone, whether you work at a treatment plant or a sewage works or in an office or a call centre. Pay and conditions, pensions, training, company reorganisations are just some of the issues we pursue through the negotiating and consultative bodies we have set up with water companies.

We believe that all our members should be able to develop professionally and personally while achieving a satisfactory balance between work and home lives. People should be able to work in an environment that is free of discrimination, bullying or harassment. We negotiate policies and procedures with the companies on these issues.

The UNISON Steward

  • When UNISON members face problems at work, the first person they should turn to is their UNISON steward.
  • An important part of the steward’s role is to support individual members by helping them to take their concerns to the employer. Our stewards are confident about how to advise you  and we have a wealth of experience and resources available to us to help.
  • We can help you as an individual or help groups of members solve their problems collectively. Group problems often present an opportunity to organise and get any non-members signed up – after all, a case will seem stronger to the employer if your position isn’t undermined by non-members.
  • We have access to information dealing with collective grievances, separate from those issues that are raised through collective bargaining machinery and where you want to change conditions of service.
  • Our stewards, along with safety representatives and learning representatives, can act as a team, working together to find solutions to problems – are there health and safety aspects that strengthen the grievance, or is provision for learning a possible solution.