Members of the Unite and GMB unions employed at International Paint in Gateshead have announced strike action and an overtime ban beginning early next year in a dispute over pay and national collective bargaining.

Specialised coatings

The 400 plus workers at the company, which undertakes all aspects of the industrial process for specialised marine and industrial coatings as part of the AkzoNobel group, have announced an overtime ban beginning on Monday 4 January.

The overtime ban will be combined with two 24 hour strikes on Wednesday 27 January and Wednesday 10 February.

Pay dispute

The dispute is over pay and the union’s seeking national collective bargaining rights for pay negotiations. The workers are seeking a three per cent pay increase backdated to the pay anniversary (1 April 2020) with no changes to any other terms and conditions.

Peace talks were held earlier this week (Thursday 17 December) but broke up without agreement, however the unions have tabled proposals for management to consider and are hopeful that an improved offer can be made that can be recommended for acceptance by our members.

Fair day's pay

Unite regional officer Steve Cason said: “Our members at International Paint are simply seeking a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

 “There has been no industrial action in over 100 years at the Gateshead site and we are committed in trying to resolve this dispute amicably to keep that excellent record intact.

 “The overtime ban and the ensuing strike action will inevitably cause disruption to production and delays for customers.

 “Workers only take industrial action as a last resort. Unite has sought a negotiated settlement but the company have failed to provide an offer which meets our member’s expectations.

 “Even at this late stage, Unite remains committed to securing a negotiated agreement. The ball is now firmly in the employer’s court, it needs to put forward an improved offer to avoid industrial action.”

Historic dispute

GMB regional officer Colin Smith said: “In its over 100 year history on the Felling site there has never been strike action. This is a clear sign that our members have had enough.

“We have made the company aware of the strength of feeling among GMB members and we have also made the company aware of what we want for our members to avoid strike action.

 “Our members have our full support in this dispute.”


During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.