The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) has said it will ballot members working at two JD Wetherspoon pubs in Brighton over strike action.
Workers at the Bright Helm and the Post & Telegraph will be balloted over a proposal to walk out over demands for staff to be paid £10 an hour and have union recognition.
Ian Hodson, president of the BFAWU said: "Workers at JD Wetherspoon do a hard job. They work long, often anti-social, hours ensuring customers can enjoy their food and drink. JD Wetherspoon depends on its workers to make its large profits; the least those workers deserve is a living wage of £10 an hour to ensure they can afford the basic things in life."
Chris Heppell, a 29-year-old kitchen worker at the Post & Telegraph, has said: "I've worked at Wetherspoons for four years. In that time I've struggled to survive on poverty wages and seen my colleagues' battle to make ends meet.
"We've had enough of being underpaid and undervalued. Now is the time for all hospitality workers to rise up and demand the respect we all deserve."
JD Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: "No complaint has been made directly to the company by employees at either pub, or by the Trade Union, in advance of receiving this ballot.
"The matter has now been raised with the area manager. He visits the pubs at least weekly and will investigate the matter further."
The pub company said that the minimum starting rate for bar staff aged over 18 is £8.05 an hour with kitchen staff receiving £8.25 an hour. After a probation period this increases to £8.15 and £8.35.
Gershon added: "These are the minimum rates employees receive, and those with longer service receive higher amounts than this. The rates are above the minimum wage.
"On average, employees at the Bright Helm received an additional 3.4% in bonus pay over the past 12 months and employees at the Post & Telegraph received an additional 6.5% in bonus pay.
"In total Wetherspoon paid £43.7m in bonus pay and free shares in the last reported financial year (ending July 2017), of which 74% was paid to employees working in the pubs."
The pub said employees receive other benefits including free shares equivalent to 5% of earnings after 18-months service and discounts on food and drink, adding that it has been recognised by the Top Employers Institute for more than 15 years consecutively.