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19 Aug 2014


Minimum wage violations perpetuate modern-day feudalism on Assam's tea plantations

Assam houses nearly 800 plantations and more than 100,000 smaller tea produce 52% of all tea in India and almost 1/6th of the world’s tea. Similar to gardens which together West Bengal, colonial-era labor structures, a faulty trade union, and corporate greed enable unjust wages that not only go against Indian labor laws, but also result in gross violations of workers’ human rights under the Indian Constitution. Assam leads the country in maternal mortality, and workers suffer from high malnutrition, poor sanitation, and low literacy levels. Even ignoring accounts of child labor and allegations of human trafficking, the devastating poverty alone is enough to account for an unacceptable number of worker’s deaths on tea plantations every year...In Assam, tea workers earn Rs. 94 per day (about 1.50 USD). This is far below the state’s statutory minimum wage for unskilled laborersof Rs. 169 per day.  

Part of the following timelines

India: Workers on tea plantations in Assam part-owned by Tata/Tetley allege labour abuses - intimidation of those raising concerns

India: Starvation deaths highlights tea workers' conditions at closed tea plantations in West Bengal