Workers at Tetley Tea have threatened strike action if a ballot by the GMB union passes in a move that could see 150 workers walk out from 3 August, threatening supplies of one of the nation’s favourite tea brands.
A majority of 88 per cent of GMB members at Tata Consumer Products, based in Teesside, recently turned down a pay deal from the company which comprised of a 4.25 per cent pay rise according to Tata.
Tata told City A.M. a second offer was subsequently made verbally, but not in writing, to the unions but offer was not put to members as it fell short of the mandate set by them.
Laura Maughan, GMB Organiser, said: “Tetley workers have faced years of real terms pay cuts. Now, during a cost of living crisis, they have overwhelmingly refused to take another.”
The union also made a point of flagging that most of the workers at the Teesside factory are female.
“GMB members are struggling to support their families, unable to escape from domestic abuse in some cases and are having to resort to food banks.
“Their quality of life has been eroded over time, and it’s in Tata’s power to change this for the workers, their families and for the future of decent paid jobs in Teesside.”
The pay increase awarded to workers in 2022 was a real terms pay cut, according to Tata, with the verbal promise of a higher increase for 2023. Tata says the union is gunning for a rise of 12 per cent.
Tata declined to comment further until the ballot has produced a result.
The international commodities giant announced revenue for the year ended March up 11 per cent year-on-year.