Tetley Tea factory workers vote to go on strike

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

Almost 150 GMB Union members at a Tetley factory are set to go on strike. Credit: Getty / Pam Walker
Almost 150 GMB Union members at a Tetley factory are set to go on strike. Credit: Getty / Pam Walker

Related tags Beverages Business

Employees at a Tetley Tea factory in the north of England are set to go on strike, after GMB Union members overwhelmingly supported industrial action.

Workers at a Tetley Tea factory in Eaglescliffe, County Durham, have voted in favour of striking following a dispute over pay.

According to GMB, 97% of members working at the tea production plant agreed to take strike action at a vote earlier this month (August 2023). Almost 90% of GMB members voted to turn down a pay offer from Tata Consumer Products Limited, the owner of Tetley, last month.

The union said that the nearly 150 members working at the plant, which is located near Stockton-on-Tees, are predominantly women. The date of the strike has not yet been confirmed.

‘Years of real terms pay cuts’

After the vote was announced, GMB organiser Laura Maughan 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​.

All they’re asking for is fair pay for their skilled work. 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​.”

Strike decision ‘disappointing’ for Tata

Founded in 1837, Tetley Tea is the second biggest tea brand in the world and was acquired by Tata Consumer Products in 2000.

In response to the news, a Tata Consumer Products spokesperson described the decision to strike as “disappointing​” and noted that it was looking at ways to minimise the disruption caused.

We are in active discussions with both unions and colleagues and [are] keen to [have] further discussions to reach a resolution in line with what’s reasonably affordable to the business and in the best interests of the factory​,” the spokesperson 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 teabags.”

In other news, oat drink manufacturer Oatly has slashed its revenue growth projection for 2023 after announcing its Q2 financial results​.

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