INDUSTRIAL action could hit lifeline ferry services in Orkney within a week because of a pay dispute.
Members of the RMT transport union have voted overwhelmingly in favour of both strike action and an overtime ban.
Orkney Ferries has offered a 2.5 per cent pay rise, but the RMT says that will leave them getting much less than staff at other ferry companies.
A total of 19 workers took part in a ballot, with 14 voting for a strike and four against. All 19 said they were prepared to take industrial action short of a strike.
The union said it would now consult with its members about the next step, and industrial action could start in a week.
Ian Macintyre, the RMT's regional organiser for Scotland and Northern Ireland, said: "Whilst we remain available for talks with the company, it is clear that the offer from the employer is completely unacceptable to our members.
"An improved offer which meets our members aspirations must be made, otherwise industrial action will inevitably take place. Our members know their rates of pay are far less than their colleagues employed by Caledonian MacBrayne and NorthLink Ferries
, and to accept this deal would mean further erosion in comparison with these employers and other ferry operators."
He went on: "These workers are serving the community on lifeline ferry services and they have got to the stage where they are saying 'enough is enough'. Every time there are pay rises, they are slipping behind further.
"We are prepared to talk, but the company needs to bring something fresh to the table."
A spokesman for Orkney Ferries said it planned further meetings with the RMT.
He said: "Orkney Ferries would expect this meeting to take place before any industrial action is taken.
"There is no indication of what level of action will be taken if a new offer is rejected. Orkney Ferries would consider contingencies to deal with any possible disruption to the service."