Hundreds of water workers in Lancashire are set to join a two-day strike on Friday in protest over changes to their company pension scheme.
Staff who repair pipes, treat waste water and resolve customer queries will take action for the first time in 25 years over plans by United Utilities which they claim could cost some staff up to £10,000 a year in retirement income.
United Utilities, which supplies water to the North West, says only around one third of staff will be taking part in the strike on Friday and Monday.
The union Unison says the walkout will impact the whole of the region. But the company has pledged that it will keep its service “running as normal.”
The changes in the pension scheme will come into force on April 1. Unison says they will reduce members’ pensions “significantly.”
“The pension scheme is in good financial health and there is no need for these changes to be made,” said Unison’s regional organiser Vic Walsh. “It is not too late for management to see sense and stop the strike action by halting their plan. Our members are asking whether they are being made to pay the costs of the company’s failings out of their pensions.”
United Utilities paid out around £25m to consumers following the cryptosporidium contamination which affected 300,000 households and businesses across Lancashire in 2015. A company spokesman for said: “Around a third of employees are involved, and we have plans to keep our services running as normal. The costs of keeping our company scheme open are predicted to keep on rising to unsustainable levels.”