Canal and River Trust gives staff 8.2% pay rise

Canal and River Trust pay
Credit: chrisdorney /

Charity organisation The Canal and River Trust has given its 1,700 workers an 8.2% pay increase, following negotiations that have been ongoing since last year.

The staff, who previously received an average annual salary of £26,000, remove waste, keep towpaths clear and maintain locks and moorings on England and Wales’ waterways, among other duties.

The new offer is an 18-month deal spanning the period up to March 2024. In 2022, Canal and River Trust offered a 5.5% increase, which consisted of a 4% interim award in June and an extra 1.5% in October. A total of 83% of staff, represented by trade union Unison, rejected this offer.

After negotiations at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) took place this year, Unison representatives secured an offer of 8.2% and a £250 lump sum for each worker, which 94% voted to accept.

A Canal and River Trust spokesperson said: “Following the trade union ballot on the proposed pay award, the trust is pleased to confirm that the outcome of the recent ballot was strongly in favour of the offer. We are pleased to have reached what we believe to be a good outcome for both our staff and for the trust.”

Andrew Dobbie, national officer at Unison, added: “Members will now be seeing a good increase in their monthly salary. We’re pleased we could reach a settlement that members strongly backed. It’s important for employers in the environmental sector to invest in their workers in order to attract and retain people to do such vital work.”

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Steve O’Sullivan, representative at Unison, said: “Unison members were patient during lengthy negotiations and we’re proud to have secured a significant improvement on the original offer put forward.”

The trust, which signed up to the Mindful Employer charter, offers staff a defined contribution (DC) salary sacrifice pension scheme, 25 days of annual leave, a health cash plan, flexible working, boat license concessions, discounts on boating holidays, high street retailers and Microsoft Office, a holiday purchase scheme, a cycle-to-work scheme, an employee assistance programme (EAP), support with eyesight tests and contribution towards glasses, two volunteering days per year, and life assurance worth five times an employees’ salary.