STRIKE action could stop Edinburgh’s trams over the Christmas and New Year period.

A staff ballot on industrial action began yesterday and could lead to stoppages during one of the busiest travel times of the year.

In a consultative ballot, more than 80% were in favour of the move, which relates to a dispute over what the Unite union calls a “hostile and aggressive management culture”.

It claims members fear for their jobs because of a “damaging culture of blame” within the organisation and that disciplinary action taken against some of workers has been “unreasonable and unjust”.

The allegations have been denied by Edinburgh Trams, which says it has confidence in its internal processes.

The result of the ballot will be known at the end of the month.

Meanwhile, both sides are scheduled to have talks at the conciliation service Acas tomorrow in a bid to resolve the dispute.

Unite regional officer Lyn Turner commented: “The strength of support for an industrial action ballot was rock-solid.

“The public of Edinburgh should know the reality here, which is that senior management at Edinburgh Trams have so far refused to engage with Unite on the legitimate concerns we have over the damaging and hostile culture which exists.”

The workers’ representative added: “Talks with Acas are scheduled to hopefully resolve this dispute but that will only happen if Edinburgh Trams management approach them in a positive manner which until now they have not.”