RMT slammed ferry bosses at privateer Serco today for planning to run a scab service if workers in Scotland vote to strike.
Bosses at Serco NorthLink Ferries reportedly said they will attempt to get scab labour to run the ferries, between mainland Scotland, Orkney and Shetland, in case workers strike over staff cuts on December 3.
RMT said this would result in a "seriously understaffed" service.
The reported comments have "only sought to inflame an already volatile industrial relations situation" that the union has been trying to resolve.
It said that while the company has been talking about spending £1 million on a "gastro pub experience" and other posh services for rich customers Serco has been hacking back staff levels to "dangerously low levels."
RMT accused the firm of dumping experienced and skilled seafarers in favour of agency staff and stretching dry-dock maintenance schedules to the "very limits of legal requirements" on some of the most dangerous ferry routes in Europe.