CalMac ferry staff to be balloted on strike action
The RMT is to ballot its members who work for ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne about industrial action.
The union said CalMac had failed to give assurances to the staff over job security, pensions and the continuity of lifeline ferry routes.
The company said it would welcome discussions on the issues, adding that this week had been the first time the RMT had raised the bulk of them.
CalMac said if a strike happened it would seek to minimise the disruption.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "The clock is ticking and the union has no alternative but to ballot CalMac members for strike action and industrial action short of strike action, in order to secure our members' rights during this period of increasing uncertainty and insecurity."
A spokesman for CalMac said: "We are disappointed that the RMT has outlined its intention to ballot for industrial action given the bulk of these issues were only raised with us on Monday.
"Discussions on pensions are due to commence next week but the RMT have chosen to act before we have had an opportunity to finalise pension reform proposals and consult fully with our employees."