Formica workers in North Shields to stage second day of walk-outs over pay dispute

Production line workers at Formica's North Shields factory are set to walk out for the second time in two weeks.

About 90 staff at the 320-strong site are due to strike on Wednesday after union officials at GMB said the company had not responded to calls for further talks. It follows an initial day's strike taken last week which came several weeks after the union rejected a 3.25% pay rise offer.

GMB says calls for the company to get back around the negotiating table have been ignored, and that Formica bosses attempted to break last week's strike by crossing the picket line to work on equipment.

Joyce Guthrie, GMB Organiser, said: "It's quite staggering that Formica management are not only refusing to get back round the negotiation table but are so disrespectful to their workforce that they snub them in favour of a bit of sun. These skilled and committed workers are struggling to pay their bills, whilst their bosses head off on summer jaunts.

"To add insult to injury, Formica management are also attempting to break strike action using dirty, underhanded tactics, tactics which GMB will fight every step of the way. It's time Formica entered into meaningful talks with its longs standing workforce and offer them the fair deal they deserve."

Formica's North Shields operation is part of a wider group of companies that spans North America, Europe and Asia with turnover of more than €1bn. The Tyneside base is the only maker of decorative laminates in the UK, and in its most recent accounts, covering 2022, the business reported turnover of £57.3m and an almost doubling of operating losses at £11.5m.

In recent years the firm has sought to reduce costs with the 2022 accounts showing £1.9m of restructuring costs associated with slimming down the manufacturing site. Writing in those accounts, bosses said they were confident of future growth, despite the downsizing.

Formica has been contacted for comment.