A Bolton engineering firm is set to lose almost a quarter of its workforce.

Employees at Edbro, which specialises in hydraulics for lorries and waste management equipment, have been told that 55 of 250 jobs at the company's Nelson Street factory must go after a meeting with shop stewards.

Trade union Amicus said the employees have been told that the 38 manual posts, eight clerical and eight technical and managerial positions are to go because of a change in working structure brought on by a general need to cut costs.

Terry Burns, the regional officer for Amicus said: "The company has said it will seek voluntary redundancies in the first instance, but compulsory redundancies have not been ruled out."

The company has entered into a 30-day consultation with unions and staff. Mr Burns added that he hopes to have a meeting with the company next Monday.

One employee and father of two said he was baffled by the news. "We are told it's because of a shortgage of money but as far as we're aware business is good.

"People have been working hard and doing overtime and this is how we get re-paid. It feels like a kick in the teeth.

"We need answers, this has come as a big shock to everybody."

He added: "In the 80s about 600 people were made redundant and more have followed since. While we were expecting a small number of jobs might go we never imagined it would be 55."

The company was formed in Bolton by Maurice Jones in 1916. Mr Jones was also the inventor of the first hydrulic hoist', that utilised the lorry's engine for power in tipping.

In January 2006, the company announced that it had introduced a programme of lean manufacturing', designed to improve efficiencies across all work processes.

As well as its head office in Bolton, the company has sites in France, the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland, as well as partnerships with companies in the USA, Asia, Africa and Australia. Its global turnover is £260 million, with a £40 million turnover in the UK.