ALMOST 200 workers at a Wirral bakery are threatening strike action after 11 of their colleagues were laid off.
Arkady Craigmillar says it was forced to shed the jobs due to the closure of a warehouse at its Bromborough factory.
But the workers are furious they have not been offered redeployment within the company.
Negotiations between management and trade union USDAW have so far failed to reach an agreement and staff have now voted to ballot on industrial action.
It could lead to a walk-out by the factory's 180-strong workforce.
Shop steward Dave Inskip is one of the workers involved. He has worked at the factory at Bromborough Industrial Estate for 17 years. He and his colleagues were given the options of voluntary redundancy, early retirement or a transfer to work for a contractor on the site.
"It was a shock to hear they were getting rid of the warehouse but an even bigger shock to hear we were not being redeployed," he said.
"We are all long-standing employees with more than 200 years service between us and we feel we have been treated appallingly. Our terms and conditions of employment state we should be offered redeployment.
"We would understand if the company did not have positions to offer us but there are plenty of agency staff on the site. We should be offered their jobs. I have been forced to go to work for a contractor which is not a secure job, and an insult to someone who has given the company 17 years of loyal service."
Union spokesman Tony Bennett said: "We have arranged to meet with senior management over the coming weeks.
"If no agreement is reached then we will ballot on industrial action."
The factory produces ingredients for bread and cakes and products for supermarket bakeries like doughnuts. Until recently they produced cake decoration product Hundreds and Thousands.
The plant was once the biggest margarine producer in the world, known locally as "the Stork factory" and making 500,000 packets of margarine at its peak.
Formerly owned by Unilever, the bakery supplies business was sold to Netherlands-based CSM two years ago for £440m. The deal made CSM the biggest food ingredients producer in the world.
Unilever first began developing the site more than 80 years ago and many employees have served for many years and lived in the company village of Port Sunlight.
Steve Moon, deputy managing director of Arkady Craigmillar, added: " Following the announcement by Arkady Craigmillar in respect of planned changes at the site, the company has been in consultation with the trade union USDAW.
"As a result of these discussions some issues are still outstanding. Further meetings are to take place and staff will be kept informed of all developments."