Johnson Tiles, the Stoke-on-Trent-based tile-manufacturer, is set to lay off nearly 100 staff – a quarter of its 400-strong workforce – as part of a major restructuring programme. The latest job cuts come after the tile-maker made around 75 staff redundant in 2013.
Staff at the Harewood Street factory were told the news at a meeting held at the beginning of March. Management at the 115-year-old firm have launched a 30-day consultation with affected employees, and union leaders are negotiating with the company on behalf of their members.
In a statement, parent company Norcros said: “We are starting a major programme to re-structure H&R Johnson. Regrettably, as part of this re-structuring, around 90 jobs will be lost. We are starting a 30-day consultation process which we expect to be completed by April 7.”
News of the redundancies follows the revelation by Norcros last year that Johnson Tiles’ revenue had dropped from £59.7 million in 2015 to £54.1 million in 2016.
Bill McDonald, Chairman of Tunstall Chamber of Trade, stated: “It is really sad to hear. It is such a big name in Tunstall that used to employ a lot of people from the area,” said McDonald.
“Generations used to work there. Everybody used to know someone who was employed there. Johnson Tiles has been in Tunstall for as long as I can remember and the company is still held in high esteem.”
“It is certainly not as big it used to be during the 1960s, but to lose nearly 25% of the workforce is huge. It is a blow for Tunstall. It will be really hard for the workers, some of which I’m sure will never have worked anywhere else.”
Johnson Tiles was founded in 1901 and was formerly based at Brownhills Road in Tunstall. It has operated at its current Harewood Street site since 2001. Among its biggest recent contracts had been to supply tiles for the 2012 Olympic Village in London.
Sara Williams, Chief Executive of Staffordshire Chamber of Trade, said: “Johnson Tiles is a really exciting and innovative company but every business goes through fluxes and it is sad to see jobs go.”
Around 7,000 people in Stoke-on-Trent are currently directly employed by the ceramics industry.
This report draws on item in The Stoke Sentinel.