Water, Environment and Transport Sector Conference (WETS)

We sent four delegates to the WETS conference in October 2016 in Leicester.

The conference is over 3 days and brings together UNISON branches from water companies all over the UK to discuss issues that affect us all.

There were presentations from a number of expert guest speakers and issues discussed were as follows;

• The English Retail Market

• Direct to work

• Health and Safety

• Mental Health

• Brexit

It was clear from discussions with colleagues from Thames Water, United Utilities and Southern Water that issues being faced by Scottish Water, Scottish Canals and Business Stream members are very similar to those of our southern colleagues. The conference allows discussions to on how we can represent members more effectively.

One strong theme that came out of the weekend is that mental health issues being experienced by staff are becoming more prevalent. Internal pressure are being heaped on staff as more is expected of us. Head count is going down and workloads are getting bigger. Add that to external pressure of austerity and higher living costs are leading to more staff experiencing mental health issues such as depression or anxiety. This is an issue the branch has highlighted that stewards would benefit from additional training.

The weekend was very successful and the next conference will be in Brighton in June 2017 and again the branch will have a team of delegates in attendance.

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