Scottish Water staff will be balloted on potential strike action next week, a union has confirmed.

The possible strike follows Scottish Water’s decision to issue a new pay structure and for offering a below-inflation pay rise, Unison said.

The union says it is 'unacceptable' for a pay offer to be made and a new pay structure implemented without negotiation.

Unison warned the increase amounts to a real-terms pay cut.

The union says it will ballot workers from Thursday on whether they should accept or reject the new pay structure and ask if they would be willing to strike over wages.

If staff vote in favour of action, Unison will launch a strike ballot to decide on the possibility of action in the autumn.

Unison Scottish Water branch secretary, Patricia McArthur, said: "This could have so easily been avoided.

"As Scottish Water is still a public sector employer, unlike other water providers in the UK, it shouldn’t be resorting to such heavy-handed management practices.

"Scottish Water must get around the table for proper talks. Any new pay structure must be fair and have the full confidence of the staff. Otherwise, it won’t stand the test of time and the public will be short-changed."

Unison Scotland regional organiser, Emma Phillips, added: "It’s imperative staff are genuinely consulted on these proposals and it takes time to get these things right.

"Scottish Water is behaving like a rogue employer. It can’t just railroad things through without talking to Unison, which represents most staff.

"It’s outrageous managers are trying to push for more pay while those on lower incomes will get considerably less."

Scottish Water has been contacted for comment.