WORKERS at an aircraft parts maker could go on strike after “having enough of their noses pushed through the dirt” by management, The Northern Echo can reveal.

Furious staff at Northern Aerospace claim shift changes have left people thousands of pounds out of pocket and created an “intimidating, toxic environment”.

However, bosses at the firm, which runs its head office out of Consett, County Durham, last night refuted the accusations, saying the changes have reduced redundancy fears and are in line with union agreements set out in 2013.

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They also said the business, known for making wing apparatus and supplying machined parts to customers such as Airbus and Boeing, was responding to weaker customer demand, saying officials remain focused on supporting staff by providing a 20 per cent shift premium.

But John McCauley, a GMB union representative on site, said workers are fed up with the management’s attitude, saying the change in shift patterns could cause some to lose as much as £9,000 a year.

He also said that financial void has been compounded by the company’s approach, claiming bosses have told staff there is the option to sacrifice holiday leave and work through scheduled breaks to bolster their pay packets.

Mr McCauley, who confirmed a ballot on potential industrial action is now being held, told the Echo those alternatives were simply not an appropriate solution.

He said: “Things have started to deteriorate and the mood is horrible.

“Everyone has had enough of having their noses pushed through the dirt.

“Skilled workers are leaving on a daily basis, but their (management) attitude is that they will go out and find others.”

However, a spokeswoman for Northern Aerospace, which was bought by Better Capital in 2015, said bosses were looking out for peoples’ interests.

The Echo understands the business has switched from a seven-day-a-week shift pattern to a five-day arrangement, with working hours coming down from 12 to eight.

She said: “We have changed shift patterns in response to reduced customer demand.

“The action we have taken is in line with existing union agreements and is designed to avoid redundancies.”

Yet a fellow union member, who wished to remain anonymous, said staff felt a great injustice.

He added: “Many, if not all of us, have never been subject to such financial brutality.

“When the company takes great pride in informing us that they are performing well, they deliver an unnecessary shift change and inflict undue financial hardship.

“The very foundation from where we build our values is under siege.

“We now work in an intimidating toxic environment and a reasonably negotiated outcome is all we ask for.”