Paint workers at International Paints (parent company Akzo Nobel) in Gateshead have announced additional strike days over pay.

Shortages of paints will hit industry and consumers as over 200 workers, who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, have voted for additional strike action after rejecting a pay offer of 4.8 per cent. This is a substantial, real terms, pay cut with the true inflation rate (RPI) currently standing at 9 per cent and which has been as high as 11.3 per cent during the dispute.

 International Paints has failed to come to the negotiating table in good faith with an improved offer and, in addition, has also threatened to call the police on lawful picket line protests outside its building.

 The workers, who are based at the Stoneygate Lane factory, produce specialist paints, which are used on ships and offshore facilities, as well as producing the polymer that is used in most Akzo Nobel’s paint brands, including Dulux.

 Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Our members at International Paints will not be intimidated and they will not back down in the face of empty threats. There is a real cost-of-living crisis in this country and our members deserve a pay rise that reflects the real level of inflation and their hard work. The failure to do so paints a sorry picture of this company.”

 “Unite is totally focussed on the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and the workers at International Paints will receive the union’s complete support.”

 Strike action had already begun on Thursday 27 July and has been taking place on every Monday and Thursday for a four-week period. New strike dates have now been announced for Thursday 31 August and then every Monday and Thursday until the final scheduled action on 21 September. In addition, there is a total ban on overtime from 25 August until 22 September.
 The workers who are taking strike action include production and distribution workers, engineering and technical support, some office and admin support and personnel in research and development.

Unite regional officer Steve Cason said: “This further strike action will inevitably cause severe disruption to the UK’s paint supply but this dispute is entirely of the company’s own making. It has had every opportunity to make a fair pay offer but it has refused to do so.”

“The company’s threats to call the police on our members for exercising their lawful right to protest shows just how unreasonably they are behaving.”


For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications adviser David Carnell on 07718 666592

  • Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.