WORKERS at the historic Rolls-Royce plant in Barnoldswick have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action in opposition to plans to move the site to Singapore.

The company first announced the plans in August this year, which will result in the loss of 350 local jobs.

In response Unite Union members at the site have now voted by 94% in favour of industrial action, the ballot having been first called in September.

Unite regional officer Ross Quinn said: “The Rolls-Royce workers at Barnoldswick have given a resounding yes vote in favour of industrial action, as they are not prepared to see their jobs offshored.

“The entire town is firmly behind them, Barnoldswick was the birthplace of the jet engine, Rolls-Royce has been the principal employer for nearly 70 years, and they are not prepared to let that disappear without a fight.

“Following Unite’s clear mandate for industrial action we are now giving Rolls-Royce the chance to reflect and return to the negotiating table to provide firm commitments to preserve highly skilled work at Barnoldswick.”

The union has now given Rolls-Royce a 96-hour deadline to withdraw the plans to move the plant to Singapore or they will serve notice of their intent to strike.

Mr Quinn said: “If they fail to take this opportunity to promote industrial harmony than the membership will be left with no alternative but to take action.”

“Unite fully understands the challenges the company faces as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic but it is simply immoral to be asking the government for financial support and then using that money to make workers redundant and offshore their jobs abroad.”

Rolls-Royce 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 firm is also currently seeking £5 billion worth of investment in the form of a £2 billion rights issues, £2 billion worth of bonds and support from the UK government to the tune of £1 billion.

The campaign to save the site has already drawn support from different sections of the community and from local businesses.

A petition calling on the company to reverse its plans has attracted over 6,700 signatures.

Meanwhile East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce has also called on the government to help save the site.

Chief executive Miranda Barker said: "Action is needed now from our Government, levelling up investment and support for the Civil Aerospace sector.

"Act now, don't let this become the successor to the loss of the shipbuilding industry.

“We are global leaders in this field, help us to stay that way!"

Strike dates are yet to be confirmed.