An agenda for change to respect, protect and fulfil human rights on Assam tea plantations
Workers on tea plantations in the Assam region of India are systematically denied their rights to a living wage and decent working and living conditions. The fact that they are unable to meet their basic living costs is starkly illustrated by our finding that 50% of the households that researchers visited on behalf of Oxfam owned ‘below poverty line’ ration cards issued by the Government of Assam, making them eligible for rations of 5kg of rice per month per family member.
Tea workers also struggle to get timely and good quality healthcare, access clean drinking water, and provide their children with a decent education.Women bear the heaviest burden of systemic inequality, as they are concentrated in the lowest paid plucking roles and also shoulder most of the unpaid domestic care work.
Oxfam’s new research shows that the solutions lie in a fairer sharing of the end consumer price of tea, stronger gender policies and a review of plantation labour laws to ensure that women and men in Assam can lead dignified lives.