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India: Tea association finds factual errors in Oxfam's report on labour rights violations in the industry

"Tea association counters Oxfam report on labour rights violation in Assam", 17 October 2019

Report left out the share of the price paid to a producer providing employment to the workers as well as the non-cash component of their wages, it says

The Indian Tea Association (ITA) has countered an Oxfam report on plantation labour rights violation, saying it left out the share of the price paid to a producer providing employment to the workers as well as the non-cash component of their wages.

Oxfam, a confederation of 20 NGOs focussing on the alleviation of global poverty, a week ago published a report on “Addressing the human cost of Assam Tea – an agenda for change to respect, protect and fulfil human rights on Assam tea plantations”.

The study by Oxfam India and Tata Institute of Social Sciences, based on interviews with 510 plantation labourers in 50 tea estates across Assam, said that the workers earned ₹137-167 despite working for over 13 hours a day.

The study also said supermarkets and tea brands in India “typically capture over two-thirds of the price paid by consumers for Assam tea in India – with just 7.2% remaining for workers on tea estates”.

...In a letter to Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar on Wednesday, ITA secretary general Arijit Raha said Oxfam’s study came to conclusions on issues based on findings in some tea gardens that did not reflect the true picture of the industry..

The ITA said Oxfam exaggerated the working hours of plantation workers by saying they slogged for 13 hours or more. None in plucking worked more than seven hours a day, it said. 

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