Overwhelming majority vote for strike action at Tetley factory
Close to 100% of union members at the Tetley tea factory have voted for strike action.
A majority of 88% of GMB Union members at Tata Consumer Products Limited in Teesside had previously turned down a pay deal from the company.
Following a ballot on strike action in a dispute over pay, a majority of 97% of members voted for strike action.
The predominantly female workforce has suffered “years of real terms pay cuts” according to GMB.
“Now, during a cost-of-living crisis, they are standing together and demand better,” said Laura Maughan, GMB organiser.
“They are struggling to support their families, unable to escape from domestic abuse in some cases and are having to resort to food banks. All they’re asking for is fair pay for their skilled work.”
Laura added: “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.”
TEA SHORTAGE FEARS
There are fears that strike action by the almost 150 Tetley workers could result in a shortage of tea, however, Tata has claimed there will be “minimum disruption to supply”.
A spokesperson for brand owner, Tata said the decision to strike was “disappointing”.
“We are in active discussions with both unions and colleagues and keen to further discussions to reach a resolution in line with what’s reasonably affordable to the business and in the best interests of the factory,” they said.
“We must remain competitive to support the best long-term future for the factory and our aspirations to grow Tetley’s presence in the UK and overseas. We are continuing to invest in the site to expand its capabilities and deliver more sustainable packaging, improved quality and plant-based tea bags.
“Contingency plans are being executed to enable production to continue with minimum disruption to supply. Through our global manufacturing network, we will ensure Tetley tea is available for the millions of UK consumers who enjoy a cup of Tetley,” they added.