Unions representing workers at Spanish baker Panrico have drawn up plans for a nationwide strike next week.

The UGT and CCOO unions have announced an “indefinite strike” will hit Panrico’s operations across the country from next Sunday (13 October).

The unions are protesting at Panrico’s decision last month to suspend the pay of over 4,000 workers as part of plans to stave off possible bankruptcy.

Panrico has run up accumulated losses of EUR700m (US$951.4m) in the last four years as sales have suffered in Spain’s economic downturn.

Last week, in a meeting with unions, Panrico put forward plans to cut 1,900 jobs and cut salary costs by a third. A fortnight ago, Panrico suspended the pay of over 4,000 staff. The proposals angered unions, which walked out of discussions. Formal negotiations have yet to restart.

This week, Panrico filed for creditor protection to give itself some breathing space as it tries to restructure the business.

The filing gives Panrico protection for three months – with an option for an extra month – and can be revoked by the company at any time.

However, with Panrico trying to reshape itself to save the business, the protection would block any move to force the group into bankruptcy.

Industry watchers believe Panrico has suffered as Spanish consumers, hit by the economic crisis in the country, have sought cheaper products. Own label has made inroads into the categories in which the Donettes and Qe! brand owner operates. Market experts also argue Panrico has not reacted quickly enough to these tougher trading conditions.

While formal talks between Panrico’s management and union officials have not been held since the company put forward proposals for job losses and wage cuts, industry watchers believe there will be renewed impetus to try to reconvene negotiations ahead of the planned strike action.