UNIONS have threatened the first-ever strike action at Scotland's national exam body.

Unite has confirmed it will hold a statutory ballot on industrial action for the first time ever at the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).

The Unite union said it would consider disruption to this summer's exam diet if the issue was not resolved, reports our sister site The Herald.

Of those voting, 96 per cent of Unite members issued a vote of no confidence in senior management, and 89 per cent supported potential strike action up to and during the examination period.

The union, which represents hundreds of SQA workers, said the body had been involved in an internal restructuring process for almost a year, which has left a number of workers without specific job roles.

Unite members raised a collective dispute with the SQA due to concerns about the organisation’s ability to restructure in a "fair and competent manner" with concerns skilled staff were being left without jobs.

A separate collective grievance on a restructuring of IT systems was submitted by both Unite and Unison unions on behalf of a number of the workforce.

In what unions describe as a "severe and serious breach of confidentiality" by managers at SQA, this relates to the identities of the individuals involved in the grievances being revealed internally.

The union said: "Unite believes this is an attempt to de-legitimise the unions and to intimidate union members.

"We have now written to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to report the data breach against members of the Unite and Unison unions."

Alison MacLean, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “The behaviour of some senior managers in the SQA demonstrates a complete disregard for the organisation’s stated commitment to the Scottish Government-supported Fair Work Charter, which is one of its corporate goals, and the official agreements between the unions and SQA.

"Staff morale within SQA generally is at an all-time low. The confusion and chaos this restructure is causing has wide and deep impacts across the organisation.

"In our opinion, the workforce is being harassed and intimated by the actions of senior management, who are attempting to deflect from their own mismanagement.

Read more: Teachers have 'lost confidence' in the SQA

"Unite has received a resounding mandate to ballot for industrial action. We urge the SQA to enter meaningful consultations and negotiations with the unions at the earliest opportunity.

"However, if they do not, then potential strike action during the examination period will be the full responsibility of senior management at SQA.”