Workers on ferry services in northern Scotland are to be balloted for strikes in a row over jobs, threatening action over the festive season.
Members of the Rail Maritime and Transport union on the Northern Isles ferry services will vote in the coming weeks on whether to launch a campaign of industrial action.
The union is involved in a dispute with ferry operators Serco, claiming jobs are under threat from a programme of cuts.
Staff involved in the row work on ferries between Aberdeen and Orkney and Shetland.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "Serco are fully aware that we will not accept attacks on our members' jobs and conditions and what is now an all-out attempt to bulldoze through compulsory redundancies, cuts to core staffing numbers, the casualisation of these skilled shipping grades.
"We have no option now but to ballot in the face of this deliberately provocative action and the threat to our members' future livelihoods. We intend to conclude our ballot well in time for Christmas."