ROLLS-ROYCE workers in Barnoldswick have started a ballot for strike action in opposition to the company’s plans to cut 350 jobs as part of an off-shoring move.

The historic firm first announced in August that it was planning to move production of its Trent Engine blades to Singapore, with jobs to be lost in Lancashire as a result.

In response, members of the Unite union began holding a ballot on strike action on Tuesday, which could see strikes begin in November.

Unite regional officer Ross Quinn said: “Industrial action is never taken lightly but our members will not allow this historic factory to close without a fight, the workers feel totally betrayed by Rolls-Royce’s management.

“This site is the heart and soul of jobs in this area, so the whole town is behind the campaign to keep the factory not just open but with a long-term viable future..

“Rolls-Royce has been a vital part of this town for nearly 80 years and plays a key role in underpinning the local economy."

He added: “Rolls-Royce made cast iron commitments when it opened its factory in Singapore that work at Barnoldswick would not suffer and the workforce rightly believes that these commitments must be honoured.”

The firm meanwhile, which posted a £5.4billion loss for the first six months of 2020, has stressed it has consulted with trade unions and employee representatives and has done everything it can to avoid compulsory redundancies

The ballot will close on Friday October 16.