A tea bag shortage could be looming as North East workers prepare strike action following a pay dispute.

150 Tetley workers have begun a ballot for strike action after rejecting the latest pay deal offered by the company.

88 per cent of GMB Union members at Tata Consumer Products Limited, in Teesside, turned down the deal.

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A GMB Union spokesperson cited real terms pay cuts, pay rises which are not adequately adjusted for inflation, as the reason for the potential strike action.

Laura Maughan, GMB Organiser, said the predominantly women workforce have been seriously impacted by real terms pay cuts.

She 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. 

“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.  

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“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.” 

GMB have said they will announce the results of the ballot on 3 August.