Hundreds of factory workers are to be balloted over strike action in a row over pay and conditions.
The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAW) has confirmed it is to ask its members at the Fox’s Biscuits factory in Kirkham whether they are willing to take industrial action.
It follows the third rejection of a pay offer last week which the union bosses claim would strip members of benefits.
A spokesman for the factory’s owner, the 2 Sisters Food Group, said the changes were “essential” for the group to remain competitive and said a “significant” number of workers at the Lancashire site had voted to accept the offer at the last ballot.
Geoff Atkinson, the organising regional secretary for the BFAW, said the company wanted to make changes involving cutting redundancy payments and double pay on Sundays and bank holiday working.
He said: “After the result of the last ballot the company has said the union will have to do what the union has to do and they are not offering any more talks at this point.
“As they have the 90-day consultation notice which is up on the September 19, they intend to start the process of issuing staff with notice to these changes.”
He confirmed the union had recommended its members at the Kirkham site, which employs around 400 people, and a sister factory in Batley, West Yorkshire, accept the pay offer.
Members voted against the offer, which includes a 3% pay increase, by 32 votes.
Mr Atkinson added the union had informed the 2 Sisters Food Group of its intention to ballot members on industrial action, including possible strike action, on Friday.
In a statement, a spokesman for the owners said its offer was “an attractive one in the current climate” and insisted they hoped a solution could still be found.
He added: “We still believe our pay offer of 3% is an attractive one in the current climate and whilst we are disappointed that our proposals on pay and conditions have been rejected, we note the significant numbers at Kirkham voting to accept the offer in line with the union recommendation to accept.
“We remain hopeful that a workable outcome can still be achieved and there is still sufficient time left in the consultation period to do so.
“These changes are essential for us to remain competitive and for our sites to be viable for the future, in what is a tough biscuits market.
“We have not been made aware of any ballot for strike action or appetite to strike, and would be very disappointed if strike action was proposed.
“Kirkham remains a viable biscuits factory but in a tough biscuits market, it is essential for us to stay competitive.”