The threat of strike action hangs over a Newcastle energy company after some of its workers twice turned down a real terms pay cut.
More than 200 workers at Baker Hughes, in Walker, will now take part in a formal industrial action ballot, GMB has said.
GMB members at the company, which makes pipelines for the oil and gas industry have turned down pay offers of 4 and 4.56%.
Michael Hunt, GMB Organiser, said: “These workers are facing the worst cost of living pressures in a generation. Four and a half per cent is nowhere near enough.
“This is a multinational company making vital pipes for the energy sector – it’s order books are full for years to come. It can afford to do better by its workers.”
In a statement, Baker Hughes said: “The GMB on Tuesday announced it is balloting its members at Baker Hughes’ Newcastle site on industrial action regarding our annual remuneration review.
“Our initial offer of a 4% increase to basic rate salary was declined. A further proposal of 4.56%, was also rejected.
“This is our final offer, which will also enhance employees’ total benefits package through measures such as higher employer pension contributions, enhanced life insurance and increased bonus payments based on basic salaries.
“We believe this offer is line with, if not above, competitive rates for our industry. The volatility of the global oil and gas industry over the last four years has meant we must manage our costs accordingly, and we continue to see high costs in our operations.
“Our Newcastle employees make a strong contribution to the Baker Hughes business, and we have no desire to see any form of industrial action. We will work closely with our employees to reach a conclusion that best meets the needs of all parties involved.”