Party-political wrangling risks stifling debate about Scotland's constitutional future, union chiefs have warned.
Grahame Smith, general secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress, said the organisation is "deeply concerned" that this will dominate over "proper issue-led discussion".
The Scottish Government is planning a referendum on independence for autumn 2014.
Whether the ballot is a straight choice between wanting an independent Scotland and the status quo, or whether voters get the option of choosing further powers for Holyrood, has still to be decided.
The UK Government and the main opposition parties at Holyrood do not want the choice for greater devolution included in the referendum, while the SNP administration has not ruled it out as an option.
Mr Smith said: "The debate about Scotland's future is too important to be left to the politicians alone. Like many in Scotland's wider community, we are deeply concerned that the debate over process and party-political wrangling more generally, might strangle proper issue-led discussion."
The STUC also announced a series of public events to discuss the country's constitutional future. A number of day-long sessions have been organised for September and further events run by local organisations are planned for throughout the autumn.
The organisation is working alongside a range of bodies including the Scottish Poverty Alliance and the Church of Scotland to ensure key concerns such as reducing poverty, creating sustainable jobs and empowering communities are at the forefront of discussions about Scotland's future.
"We start from the assumption that the majority of Scots wish to see a more equal and socially just Scotland," Mr Smith said.
"We make no assumptions about the views of our membership on independence, the status quo or enhanced devolution. What we do know is that there is a vital need to discuss these issues and to enable our members and those in Scotland's communities to exchange ideas."