Staff at a printing firm fear they may lose their jobs or suffer pay cuts after missing out on a Lancashire County Council contract.
The authority uses six companies in the North West to print items such as leaflets, brochures and folders.
These include T Snape & Co in Boltons Court, Preston, which was founded in 1858 and employs 12 people, and B&D Print Services in Marathon Place, Leyland.
But when the collective contract came to an end in July, One Connect Limited, the partnership between BT and the council which handles its procurement, chose not to put the deal back out to tender.
It said it could save the council up to £100,000 a year by instead using an existing Government Procurement Service (GPS) framework, which excluded any businesses in Lancashire, and gave the work to six new companies, including four based in and around London.
A member of staff at T Snape & Co said the firm was working on one last job for the authority - printing its school menus - before their arrangement ends on October 1.
He said: “No Lancashire printers will be doing any work for Lancashire County Council anymore because it’s going down south.
“It’s just a complete mess - what they have done to us is horrendous.
“We’re all really worried. We’re desperately trying to find new business now. The lads feel sick.
“We have got a lot of other customers, so the business is still strong, but cuts may have to be made.
“We’ve spent thousands and thousands updating our machines. Companies we buy the paper, the ink, all the supplies from, they will be hit hard too.
“We can’t understand if they send all the work to London, with the logistics and carrier costs, how it can be cheaper? We are convinced a London firm is not cheaper than us.”
Another worker said they should have been given more notice, and disputed the £100,000 annual saving the council said it could make.
He said: “We’ve done work for the council for more than 75 years. I found a letter not long ago from 1935. This contract went out to tender eight years ago because of European legislation. Four years or so ago it went out again, and we got on it again. Now they’re saying they’re not going out to tender this time.
“We only found out about this in August. We weren’t informed that this was the way Lancashire County Council were going to go.”
However, it is understood council bosses first revealed the change was on the cards during a meeting with the printing suppliers in May.
A review then began, leading up to the end of the existing contract’s maximum five-year span in July.
The decision was formally made by the council on July 30.
Council leader, County Coun Jennifer Mein, said: “While we are committed to supporting the Lancashire economy, the council faces unprecedented spending cuts of £300m over the next four years.
“We are under intense pressure to make savings in order to protect frontline services and buying our print through the Government Procurement Services framework means that we can save up to £100,000 a year.
“As a new administration, we are reviewing all of our procurement processes, including how we take into account the effect on local jobs and value to the community.”
The council said a pricing comparison upon which it based its decision could not be published as it was considered commercially sensitive.
B&D Print Services declined to comment.