P&O Ferries staff may be balloted on strike action after two workers were dismissed following an apparent near miss incident.
RMT union members will meet with the company on Friday to discuss the handling of the sackings.
It follows an apparent “close quarters incident” with the MV Zenica, when the two workers had been on lookout on the Spirit of France as it was heading towards Dover.
National secretary Steve Todd said: “We are in discussions with the company trying to resolve the impasse between us and we will have a clear indication of where we are on Friday.”
The two workers were criticised for their handling of a potential incident with the other ship.
After being disciplined they were ultimately dismissed, according to a letter sent to workers by RMT general secretary Mick Cash.
He said: “The national executive committee has considered this matter and notes that these dismissals are overly harsh and unwarranted.
“In line with wishes of our Dover shipping branch, the national executive committee has decided to ballot all our members in the deck department for strike action and industrial action short of a strike.
“I have therefore advised the company that a dispute situation exists between our organisations and I am currently preparing the ballot of all our affected members on the short-sea route.”
P&O Ferries are yet to comment.