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India: Tea companies asked to raise wages & stop litigation blocking minimum wage revisions, in letter from civil society groups

“Open letter to brands and retailers purchasing Assam tea attending the TEAM UP 2016 conference on tea and sustainability,” 14 Jun 2016

[W]e are writing to welcome the work that tea estates, brands and retailers have engaged in to date to improve living and working conditions on tea estates in Assam... [W]ork is needed to improve wage levels of tea workers in Assam, particularly in light of the risk of slavery and reported instances of human trafficking in the sector and from Assam…The ongoing litigation in the Guwahati High Court continues to prevent the Assam Government’s proposed revision of the minimum daily wage for tea workers to Rs.177…from coming into effect…The current cash wage…is still far below the income necessary for a worker to meet their basic needs... [A]s purchasers of tea from Assam estates...[we request that you] ask any of your suppliers that are backing the litigation which blocks the updated minimum wage [from] coming into effect, to withdraw their support...