(Bloomberg) -- A power network company covering London and the southeast of England could be hit by strikes next month after a trade union said it would ballot workers in a dispute over pay.

Unite said Monday that 1,300 staff at UK Power Networks Holdings Ltd. were unhappy with a raise of 7% for the current financial year, followed by an average of two inflation measures for 2023-24.

“These workers literally keep the lights on and get them back on when there is a power cut,” said Unite’s regional officer Jane Jeffery, arguing that any disruption would be the fault of the company for not providing a higher offer.

A spokesperson for UK Power Networks said the current offer comes to around 18% and that talks were ongoing.

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The workers represented by Unite are responsible for the repairing, maintaining and administering of electricity to the grid for London, the southeast and east of England.

Industrial unrest has gripped Britain since last summer, resulting in the worst strikes for over 30 years. Public sector workers including nurses, teachers and rail staff are seeking pay rises in line with inflation which is running about 10%. The government argues pay rises would stoke further inflation.

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The ballot opens tomorrow and closes March 7, with the earliest dates for strikes being later that month.

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