Staff at the national broadcaster will stop work for 24 hours this Thursday to kick off an industrial campaign aimed at forcing a better workplace deal.

ABC staff are pressing for a three-year agreement and have rejected management’s offer of an annual 3.5 per cent pay rise, saying that wages will fall behind inflation.

The ABC’s two staff unions, the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) said ABC management was asking for too many concessions on working conditions, such as changes to shift work and meal allowances.

MEAA federal assistant secretary Mark Ryan said about 2,500 ABC staff were members of either union and those who decided to take part in the action would not attend work that day, beginning from the first shift which starts about 3.30am.

“We expect a bit of disruption,” he said.

Previously, more than 1,600 ABC employees voted in two separate ballots conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), with about 90 per cent favouring an industrial campaign.

Secret ballots before taking so-called protected industrial action during bargaining periods for collective agreements are now mandatory under the federal government’s WorkChoices laws.

The ballots conducted by the AEC collected only 117 votes against industrial action, with 1,577 staff voting in favour of the campaign.