VITAL public services services in Glasgow are facing major disruption across the winter months after more than 95 per cent of council IT staff voted for strike action.

Schools, payrolls and social work operations are at risk of being hit, with hundreds of workers to down tools within the fortnight over plans to privatise IT at the country’s largest local authority.

The controversial move was given the go-ahead last week after the city council voted to take forward its £400million ‘externalisation’ plan.

Read more: Crucial vote sees Glasgow agree to privatise all council IT services

Unison, which represents most of the city council’s IT staff, announced the outcome of its ballot, which saw 78 per cent of its members turn out.

Of these, 96.25 per cent were in favour of strike action, while 3.75 per cent were opposed.

The union’s stewards are to meet with members on Thursday and agree on the first day of action, which is likely to be an all-out strike within the fortnight.

However, senior Unison figures have warned the dispute could drag on throughout the winter.

Brian Smith, the union’s Glasgow secretary, said: “This is an incredibly strong ballot result. Our members are angry and up for the fight. Unless Glasgow City Council revisit their decision they can expect further action.

Read more: Crucial vote sees Glasgow agree to privatise all council IT services

“Whether this will be all-out action or targeted will depend on a number of meetings in the days ahead, when a number of issues around the action will be discussed.”

IT within the wider city council is provided by an operation called Access, a joint venture between the authority and services giant Serco.

Montreal-based CGI, which runs Edinburgh and Borders Council IT, as well as several Scottish Government contracts, is the front runner to take it over.

The decision is likely to see a raft of other Scottish councils and public sector bodies taking on the firm, such as the nature of the deal with Edinburgh.

The unions, which are legally prevented from taking action on political causes such as privatisation, insist there are widespread angers to jobs and terms and conditions resulting from the Glasgow move and wherever else signs up to the deal.

The council has insisted that external provision was the best solution to its IT issues and that this would cost up to £100m less than what might be delivered by an in-house contract.”

Read more: Crucial vote sees Glasgow agree to privatise all council IT services

It also insisted that guarantees will be provided on both job security, pensions and other terms and conditions.

However, the move is also likely to cause significant turbulence within the ruling labour administration, which voted through the plans.

Internal documents recently seen by The Herald raised concerns about the levels of industrial action at the authority, particularly coming six months before the next local elections and likely to impact upon every council service.

A council spokesman said: “The council has had no notification from the trade union Unison concerning the results of the ballot for strike action in the current dispute about future provision of IT services. Given the established protocols for trades union-council relations it would not be appropriate for the council to comment until we have been informed officially through the proper channels about the ballot result.”