Tees

Union says Teesside floor firm closure is 'devastating'

Armstrong floor factory
Image caption The company has suffered a big drop in sales

Union officials have described the planned closure of a flooring factory on Teesside and the resulting loss of 163 jobs as "devastating."

US-owned Armstrong World Industries said its factory in Stockton, which makes a range of vinyl floors for the domestic market was no longer viable.

The company blamed a drop in orders for its decision, which it said was regrettable, but necessary.

The Unite union said it wanted talks to seek an alternative to closure.

The firm has begun a 90-day consultation with staff, some of whom have been with the company since it opened in 1977.

Tim Bush, regional officer of Unite said: "This is devastating news for the workers at this long-standing Teesside company.

'Potential options'

"Unite will be entering into consultation with the company with a view to seeking alternatives to closure."

Stockton's Conservative MP James Wharton has also pledged to talk to the company in an effort to see if a buyer can be found.

Armstrong's executive vice-president Frank Ready said: "The proposal to close our plant at Teesside were not taken lightly.

"A review of potential options for the location and employees, including a sale, has been and continues to be conducted."

The firm has said its operations in Gateshead and Stafford were unaffected.

The company employs more than 10,000 people at 35 factories in nine countries.

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