Workers at BT are being balloted on strike action in support of their pay dispute with the company.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) says BT can afford a 5% pay rise after what it says is a two-year wage freeze and a round of redundancies.
The company has offered an increase of 5.1% over 21 months and several one-off payments. The ballot closes on 5 July.
Andy Kerr, of the CWU, said it was "seeking an affordable and reasonable pay rise for our members in BT".
The CWU says BT can well afford the pay increase after making profits of more than £1bn.
Mr Kerr, the union's deputy general secretary, said BT's staff "have contributed heavily to the success of the company during a difficult couple of years".
He added: "We are amazed at the aggressive attitude of BT bosses in the face of blatant double standards.
"The company's claim that a 5% pay rise for staff would lead to cutting back and making redundancies is an unbelievable fat-cat excuse - it would cost 3.6% of available cash flow, hardly breaking the bank.
"Our members have had a pay freeze, pension changes and redundancies over the last two years but now the company is profitable, inflation is high and BT is paying out big money to shareholders and senior executives.
"If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for our members."
Mr Kerr also said the CWU remained open to meeting BT to discuss any improved offer on pay for this year.
The union has warned BT that any legal challenge to the ballot would not solve the dispute and would worsen the "already deteriorating" industrial relations.