Knowledge is power

In the first initiative of its kind, THIRST has created this knowledge hub in order to bring together all of the valuable resources regarding the treatment of workers in the tea industry that are scattered all over the internet. We’re always trying to expand our knowledge hub. If you know of, or have created, any other relevant resources that should be included in this collection please contact us.


Filter resources

The Global Business of Forced Labour

Report
Date of publication:
2018
Published by:
Sheffield University
Geography:
Worldwide
Topic:
Forced Labour
The two-year Global Business of Forced Labour study investigated the business models of forced labour in global tea and cocoa supply chains. Forced labour is work brought about by physical, psychological or economic coercion. Extensive on-the-ground research with the cocoa industry in Ghana and the tea industry in India revealed agricultural workers are paid severely low wages and are routinely subjected to multiple forms of exploitation. The project involved in-depth interviews with more than 120 tea and cocoa workers, a survey of over 1,000 tea and cocoa workers from 22 tea plantations in India and 74 cocoa communities in Ghana, and over 100 interviews with business and government actors.

The more things change…The World Bank, Tata and Enduring Abuses on India’s Tea Plantations

Report
Date of publication:
2014
Published by:
Columbia Law School
Geography:
Topic:
Health
,
Housing
,
Nutrition
,
Wages
,
Water and Sanitation
The report is based on three years of research and visits to 17 out of 24 plantations and describes pervasive violations of workers’ rights on the plantations owned by Amalgamated Plantations Private Ltd. (APPL) in the states of Assam and West Bengal, in India… The report assesses the claims of the workers against the standards of the Plantations Labour Act (PLA), India’s post-independence law that regulates working conditions on plantations and requires plantation owners to supplement meager wages with adequate housing, health care, and food rations, in addition to ensuring adequate water and sanitation. The report documents failings on all fronts.

The Story of Tea Workers in Bangladesh

Book
Date of publication:
2009
Published by:
Society for Environment and Human Development
Geography:
Bangladesh
Topic:
Forced Labour
,
Housing
,
Wages
This book is about the tea plantation workers in Bangladesh. However, the genesis of tea cultivation in what is now Bangladesh, its growth, ownership, rights of the tea workers and their struggle for legitimate demands, the use of land granted for tea cultivation and different trends have also been featured to help understand the conditions in which the indentured tea plantation workers have been confined. The laborers who keep the tea industry alive are not locals. The British companies brought them from different States of India about 150 years back. These workers belonging to many ethnic identities cleared jungles, planted and tended tea saplings, planted shade trees, and built luxurious bungalows for the tea planters. But they had their destiny tied to their huts in the ‘labor lines’ that they built themselves. They continue to remain as people without choice and entitlement to property. Also available in Bangla.

The True Price of Tea from Kenya

Report
Date of publication:
2016
Published by:
IDH
Geography:
Kenya
Topic:
Child Labour
,
Forced Labour
,
Wages
,
Water and Sanitation
Kenya is the third largest tea producing country in the world. About 10% of the global tea production comes from Kenya. For Kenya itself, this represents approximately 25% of its total agricultural export income. Tea production in Kenya is predominantly in the ownership of smallholders. Around 550.000 smallholders produce 60% of the total tea production of the country. Many societal costs occur during production, such as use of scarce water and forced adult and child labour. This study shows that the majority of the external costs of conventional tea cultivation exists of social costs (79%), of which 29% are due to underpayment of hired and family workers.

The Truth About Tea

Initiative
Date of publication:
Published by:
Oxfam
Geography:
Assam
,
India
Topic:
Casualisation
,
Discrimination (not gender)
,
Forced Labour
,
Freedom of Association
,
Health
,
Housing
,
Nutrition
,
Wages
,
Water and Sanitation
,
Women
Oxfam India’s awareness-raising campaign about conditions for Assam tea workers. The campaign is part of Oxfam's global Behind the Barcodes campaign raising awareness and calling on supermarkets to improve their human rights policies so that workers in their global supply chains have decent lives and livelihoods. The Oxfam report Addressing the Human Cost of Assam Tea provides the data on which the campaign is based.

The Wood Foundation Africa – Rwanda

Initiative
Date of publication:
Published by:
The Wood Foundation
Geography:
Rwanda
Topic:
Small tea growers
The Wood Foundation Africa (TWFA), in conjunction with its funding partners, is now considered the leading venture philanthropist in the tea industry in East Africa. In Rwanda TWFA is helping to achieve systemic and sustainable change for the tea industry through its Imbarutso project, and now works in partnership with 17,000 smallholder tea farmers. Imbarutso is an industry-level tea programme to bolster competitiveness of the tea industry in Rwanda and ensure that smallholders benefit from its growth. Imbarutso works with government, the private sector, cooperatives, and smallholder farmers to improve smallholder productivity and boost farmers’ margins.

THIRST Briefing – East and South East Asia

Report
Date of publication:
2020
Published by:
THIRST
Geography:
East Asia
Topic:
A literature review of conditions for workers and small farmers in East and South East Asia. There are far fewer resources available on this region than for others such as South Asia, highlighting a gap that THIRST invites civil society organisations or academics to fill.

Understanding Wage Issues in the Tea Industry

Report
Date of publication:
2013
Published by:
Oxfam
Geography:
India
,
Indonesia
,
Malawi
Topic:
Wages
Reports by civil society organisations… have highlighted the issue of low wages and excessive working hours in the supply chains of a range of commodities and manufactured items, including tea. They argue that corporate compliance programmes and product certification schemes have achieved only limited reach to the root causes of supply chain problems, including low wages, and many have called for a Living Wage for workers… Oxfam and the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP), a not-for-profit member organization of tea companies committed to improving the lives of tea workers and their environment, initiated a project in 2010 to increase understanding of wages in the tea sector, and to use this as a basis for constructive dialogue in the future.

Who picked my tea?

Initiative
Date of publication:
Published by:
Traidcraft
Geography:
Assam
,
India
Topic:
Forced Labour
,
Freedom of Association
,
Health
,
Housing
,
Nutrition
,
Wages
,
Water and Sanitation
,
Women
Traidcraft Exchange’s successful campaign to persuade UK tea brands to publicise which estates they source their Assam tea from. Traidcraft Exchange brings people together, to fight injustice in trade. It's Traidcraft's mission to challenge the way global trade works - to use the power of trade to create lasting solutions to poverty.