Unite the Union has said it believes that a pay award for Marine Scotland by the Scottish Government could constitute an “illegal inducement”.
It comes after the union rejected a 2% pay policy following negotiations last year.
The union state that the Scottish Government terminated negotiations and imposed a “real terms pay cut”.
They now say that “all options” are on the table, including an industrial action ballot, as they hit out at what they described as “disgraceful behaviour”.
Unite industrial officer, Sandy Smart, said that the action will “not go unchallenged”.
“We are very disappointed that pay talks for last year with Marine Scotland dragged on into the winter and then the Scottish Government came back to us stating that all they were prepared to put forward was the 2% pay policy, which we rejected,” he said.
“The Scottish Government confirmed this week that they would impose the pay award and they were not prepared to continue negotiations to their conclusion.
“We believe that this could constitute an illegal inducement on the basis that the Scottish Government have terminated negotiations with Unite and imposed a real terms pay cut.
“All options are now on the table including an industrial action ballot as this disgraceful behaviour will not go unchallenged.”
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant urged the government to “get around the table” to avert strike action being taken.
“What’s incredible this time around is that the Scottish Government is simply imposing a pay deal on them after dragging its feet over negotiations,” she said.
“There should be equity when it comes to public sector pay and workers in fisheries protection have fallen far behind those who work for CalMac which is also publicly owned.
“The government should get around the table to avert strike action or legal action and show these workers some respect.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Our Public Sector Pay Policy focuses on sustainability, reducing inequalities and promoting wellbeing, in an extremely challenging fiscal context.
“It sets the parameters for public sector pay increases for staff in 50 public sector organisations, including Marine Scotland.
“Organisations covered by the Public Sector Pay Policy must negotiate their pay award within its parameters.
“As the pay award is now several months overdue, and has been accepted by members of one of the recognised trade unions, we have decided that it is appropriate to move forward and implement the award.
“We are satisfied that taking this step meets our statutory and legal responsibilities.
“The Scottish Government remains fully committed to collective bargaining with both Unite and Nautilus and both unions have been invited to continue dialogue on pay over the coming months.”
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