Civil servants in the Isle of Man have overwhelmingly rejected a pay freeze for the current financial year.
The union Prospect says a recent ballot attracted one of the highest turnouts it's recorded for such a vote, with 95% of those polled voting against.
Prospect says the result came after members were warned a 'No' vote should be viewed as a potential step towards industrial action.
Negotiations officer for Prospect Angela Moffatt describes the vote as an 'overwhelming rejection of the offer by the employer', adding there is no doubt the vast majority of Prospect members 'cannot afford to be the only people on the Island to take the force of the government's budget cutting exercise'.
Prospect points out that over 2,000 civil servants are affected by the proposed freeze, and they are the only public sector workers being offered nothing this pay year. Other public sector groups, it's pointed out, achieved up to three per cent.
Ms Moffatt says her members are not asking for a massive increase, but they want their pay to stay meaningful, especially as living costs steadily rise.
She says Prospect will now attempt to resume talks with the Civil Service Commission, and will do its utmost to stave off an escalation of the situation.