Talks over a pay dispute between ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne and the RMT union have broken down.

The union claims CalMac offered a two-year pay rate based on the consumer price index rather than the retail price index, which would mean staff pay will "fall behind the cost of living".

A yearly bonus of 1.5% if the company makes a profit is also under threat, the RMT said.

CalMac claims the pay offer is "extremely generous" and is "very disappointed" by the RMT's reaction.

The two parties recently campaigned together to keep the west coast ferry services in public ownership in the face of competition from Serco.

CalMac was named preferred bidder for the £1 billion contract in May and the RMT described the pay offer as a "kick in the teeth" after the campaign.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "It's clear to everyone that RMT members played a huge role in the campaign that led to CalMac beating off the attempt to wrestle the lifeline ferry services away from them.

"These pay and bonus proposals from management are a kick in the teeth for those loyal and dedicated RMT CalMac members and will be resisted by all means necessary.

"All four CalMac trade unions are in dispute with the company and we will now be deciding the next moves as we move the campaign for pay justice forward.

"RMT's negotiating team remain available for talks with the company to resolve this dispute."

RMT national secretary Steve Todd said: "CalMac staff are angry and disappointed at pay proposals that would slash their standards of living in years to come as well as ripping away the bonus entitlement that has been built up over many years.

"That is no way to reward staff who are the lifeblood of the CalMac operation and the unions are demanding that the company come forward with a fair and just offer."

CalMac Ferries managing director Martin Dorchester said: "We are very disappointed that the RMT have taken this decision after we worked so hard together to win the new eight-year contract to run the Clyde and Hebrides ferry service contract.

"The offer on the table of 1.8% is nearly double recent average public sector pay increases.

"This is an extremely generous pay offer in the current climate of tight public sector budget restraint.

"Any moves to disrupt services would be a huge letdown for all the people who rely on our services and who backed CalMac staff so vocally and enthusiastically during the tendering process.

"I would urge trade union members to think carefully about the damage any potential industrial action will have on the communities they serve and are part of.

"This is a road no-one wants to go down just as we are about to start rolling out new innovations that will improve services for all over the long-term."

He urged the RMT to continue to negotiate to reach an agreement.