Haribo workers are to be balloted on official strike action next week in a dispute over compulsory working over Christmas.

Union GMB said members employed by Haribo confectionery in Pontefract were “fed up” with the company’s “dictatorial attitude”.

Up to 270 GMB members could vote to strike when the ballot opens on November 24 for two weeks.

The unrest follows a recommendation made by GMB to Haribo earlier this year calling on the confectioner to request volunteers work over the festive period. The union also advised the sweets supplier to put forward an incentive to ensure the required number of employees would offer to work.

“The company has ignored this suggestion and is forcing members to work,” said GMB regional organiser Steve Huckerby. “That has now resulted in the ballot for strike action.

“This dispute has been caused by the company dictating to its employees rather than co-operating with them. Members have had enough of the company’s attitude of imposing conditions irrespective of what we have agreed, or what member’s family arrangements are.”

Haribo confirmed the confectioner had been consulting with employees since July over plans to work on Monday 29 and Tuesday 30 December, which was necessary to meet an increase in product demand and to honour agreements with customers.

“As part of this process we have invited any employee who does not want to work on these dates to submit holiday requests, this opportunity has already been taken up by a number of team members,” a Haribo spokeswoman said.  “Where applicable we have also honoured existing holiday plans and ensured those colleagues have been given the time off work.

“In addition, any employee working these dates will receive their existing pay, two additional days of holiday which could be taken at an alternative time or be paid in lieu and as a sign of our appreciation they will also receive an additional attendance and productivity bonus should our targets be met.

Haribo added it was introducing a new productivity bonus in 2015.