STRIKING Rolls-Royce workers have said that they hope a solution to their dispute can be found but they are prepared to escalate action if necessary.

Unite members have been on strike at the company's Barnoldswick site since November last year in opposition to cut around 350 jobs as part of a plan to offshore production of aeroplane fan blades to Singapor.

The dispute has become increasingly contentious in the months since, with those taking part in the subject to a Christmas lockout since Friday November 27, however workers hope that a resolution is now possible.

Unite regional officer Ross Quinn said: "We're back at the picket line at Barnoldswick for the 35th day of strike action and the fourth phase of the industrial action.

Lancashire Telegraph:

The strike has been ongoing since November

"The third phase took us up to Christmas Eve and Unite has worked extremely hard with Rolls-Royce to try and put something tangible to members that would end this dispute.

"Unfortunately we never got the resolution that we were hoping for before Christmas.

"We continued discussions and negotiations right throughout the holidays and we are still hopeful that we will get a resolution in the next couple of days."

The striking employees hope that their action will have convinced the company to halt the offshoring and job cutting plans, thus maintaining the site's viability in the years to come.

Since launching industrial action the employees have received messages of support from much of the local community, along with backing from across the political divide.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Pickets will continue if a resolution is not found

Labour leading Keir Starmer, Conservative MP for Pendle Andrew Stephenson and Pendle Liberal Democrat Councillor David Whipp have all said that they oppose job cuts in the area.

However, Unite officials have said that if a satisfactory offer is not made to their members, then the strike would not only continue but would escalate in the coming days.

Mr Quinn said: "We haven't had anything that we can formally put to our members yet and if we don't get that in the next couple of days then unfortunately the reality is that we're going to have to look at how this dispute escalates further and I think it will have knock on implications, not just to other bargaining units on this site, but also other sites across the UK."

Rolls-Royce for its part says that though the proposed job cuts are unfortunate, they do not threaten the long-term viability of the site.

A spokesperson said: "Barnoldswick will have an important role to play in developing this technology and we will continue to consult with trade unions, employee representatives and local stakeholders on our proposals for the future of the site."