Workers at National Grid will start voting tomorrow on whether to take industrial action in a row over pay.
Members of three unions - Prospect, Unite and Unison - will be balloted in the coming weeks on whether to take action short of a strike, with the result due on January 5.
Any action would start in January, but the unions said their members would respond to emergencies and ensure vulnerable people were not affected.
The unions have rejected a three-year offer worth 2.5% from July 1 this year, 2.25% from July 1 2011 and 2.25% from July 1 2012.
"This is less than half the cost of living as, on the 2010 review date, inflation was 5.1%," said Prospect national officer Emily Boase.
"Members think that's unfair, since National Grid has seen a 12% increase in pre-tax profits and an 8% increase in dividends. That's thanks to dedication and hard work by staff, who feel affronted to be so undervalued.
"National Grid's directors have been dealt a different hand - five featured in the Labour Research Department's league table of the 10 highest paid directors in the UK.
"Members want the company to restore their pay to RPI and show their contribution is valued. It is unfair that they should bear the cost of rising inflation and the 20% VAT increase, in the light of the company's own profits.
"What's more, National Grid will lose out if it doesn't listen because recruitment of skilled transmission staff will suffer."Reuse content