A factory used as the backdrop by the Prime Minister to announce Teesside’s City Deal status is expected to make 23 redundancies.
Tata Global Beverages, home of the famous Tetley brand, currently employs 340 at its Eaglescliffe base and is the largest teabag manufacturing plant in the world.
But the firm, based at Durham Lane Industrial Estate, has now told employees at the Teesside branch they could face redundancy amid a proposed restructure.
The factory was used by Prime Minister David Cameron last December as the base from which to announce that Teesside had won City Deal status, telling workers at the time: “I know it’s been difficult in the North East but I think that things are beginning to pick up.”
Staff have been told a company restructure was necessary in order to secure the future of the business as a result of increased costs and a drop in orders.
One employee, who didn’t want to be named, said workers had been left shocked by the announcement. He said: “It is a huge kick in the teeth for all of the workers who have been working harder than ever.”
All the Tetley products for the UK and Canadian markets are produced at the Eaglescliffe factory, from the standard Tetley “soft pack” to variants including Extra Strong, Blend of Both, Redbush, green varieties and fruit and herbal teas.
A statement released by Tata Global Beverages said the factory had already seen a volume reduction over the last couple of years.
The statement said: “Cuts have been made due to a challenging market environment, increasing competitor activity and retailers reducing deep cut promotional activity. As part of normal business process, the factory evaluates its operational structure on a regular basis to ensure it stays sustainable and competitive.
“As a result, the factory has decided to restructure certain areas in order to remove costs that it can no longer sustain. Unfortunately, the outcome is likely to be a reduction of around 23 roles at Eaglescliffe. Employees are being informed about the proposed changes. The restructures will be managed in a fair and equitable manner through a comprehensive consultation process in accordance with all relevant employment legislation.”