Union leaders said any action by the 400 Unite members would create an “autumn of anarchy” across major construction sites.
Unite has been in pay talks for eight months resulting in a 4.5% offer on basic rates.
But the union claimed overtime rates would be reduced leading to “most workers experiencing a pay cut.”
Further talks have been scheduled for later this week.
If no breakthrough is made Unite said it will immediately move to an industrial action ballot including the option of strike action.
Unite national officer for construction Bernard McAulay said: “The construction industry needs to start making plans for an autumn of anarchy if Ainscough don’t make a substantially improved pay offer.
“The protracted pay talks have been like pulling teeth and the latest offer by Ainscough is entirely unacceptable to our members.
“The onus is now on Ainscough’s management to sit down and negotiate a sensible pay offer which is of benefit to all concerned.”
An Ainscough Crane Hire spokesperson said: “Ainscough Crane Hire have been in discussions with Unite for many months regarding our working arrangements.
“Talks are ongoing and we have further meetings scheduled over the coming weeks. We are therefore disappointed that Unite have chosen to comment publicly at this time.
“There are factual inaccuracies in the information provided by Unite.
“At this stage we do not intend to comment further as we continue to work collaboratively with Unite to reach an agreement for the benefit of our people and our customers.”