The 7% pay rise, which is being backdated to 1 April 2023, was awarded after GMB trade union members working at the plant had voted in favour of a strike earlier this month (August 2023).
The industrial action has now been called off as a result of the agreement, ending the possibility of tea bag shortages that could have been caused by halted operations at the Eaglescliffe facility. Eaglescliffe is the only location producing Tetley Tea bags for the UK and Canada.
Tetley Tea is owned by Tata Consumer Products, which owns a number of FMCG brands including Tata Tea, Eight O’Clock Coffee and Himalayan Water.
Prior to the pay rise being agreed, 97% of GMB members voted in favour of strike action after nearly 90% had voted to turn down the initial pay offer. GMB said that the workforce at this factory are predominantly women.
Workers 'should be proud'
Speaking following the agreement, GMB organiser Laura Maughan praised the workers for their resilience, stating that they "stood together and demanded more".
“This pay rise will enable them to support their families and stop replying on food banks," Maughan said.
“These workers should be rightly proud of themselves and Tata should be congratulated for finally listening to their workforce. However, there is still a long way to go Tetley workers fight for pay justice.”
Meanwhile, Tata Consumer Products welcomed the decision to call off industrial action and accept the pay deal, after the firm initially described the vote to strike as "disappointing".
“We’re pleased that the continued constructive discussions we’ve had with the Unions have reached a positive conclusion with a strong majority acceptance of the revised pay award offered,” said a spokesperson for Tata Consumer Products.