WORKERS at Anglian Water are set to go on strike following a row over working hours and pay. General workers union the GMB said members faced a potential annual lose of up to £2,500 due to shift and working-time changes. The union claims that the day-

WORKERS at Anglian Water are set to go on strike following a row over working hours and pay.

General workers union the GMB said members faced a "potential annual lose of up to £2,500" due to shift and working-time changes.

The union claims that the day-long strike planned for Friday, June 12, will impact on the supply of water and the cleaning of sewage.

Huntingdon-based Anglian Water said this would not be the case.

Michael Ainsley, GMB organiser said: "These changes add up to a cut in pensionable wages by up to £2,500 a year for workers.

"Anglian Water's imposition will now lead to the distress and inconvenience of industrial action for customers.

"It is high time for Anglian Water to start negotiations."

He added: "Negotiators are available for talks to avert the industrial action at any time. So far Anglian Water has shown no willingness to negotiate."

The striking workers are involved with the maintenance of Anglian Water sewage facilities in Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire.

Anglian Water said it wanted to reassure customers that there will be no disruption to services in the event of strike action.

The firm added that out 4,000 employees, just 235 trade union members were balloted for industrial action and less than half voted in favour.

Peter Simpson, chief operating officer at Anglian Water, said: "The dispute is about a minor change to start times. We're asking staff to start work at 10am, instead of 8am, to ensure we have most cover available when we are busiest. Many of our staff already work to these new arrangements.

"Since the new arrangements began on April 1, we've improved service to customers and reduced the use of outside contractors by 40 per cent. This kind of efficiency improvement can only be good for our customers' bills and the long-term job security of our employees.

"We remain absolutely committed to consulting our staff on changes which affect them, and we're proud of our track record for constructive employee relations. The fact is we have negotiated on this change in good faith for more than eight months, but sadly it was not possible to reach agreement.

"We urge union members to step back from strike action and to agree to the new working arrangements. Meanwhile we can reassure customers that we have contingency arrangements in place to ensure there will be no disruption to services.