Assam tea workers get only 7 per cent of price, says report
    Guwahati, Oct 10 (PTI) Tea brands and supermarkets
capture over two thirds of the price paid by consumers for
Assam tea in India with just seven per cent remaining for
workers of estates, according to a research released on
    The new research, commissioned by Oxfam and undertaken
by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), called for
urgent action from supermarkets, tea brands and state
authorities to end the suffering of Assam's tea workers.
    The "relentless squeeze by supermarkets and brands on
the share of the end consumer price" for tea makes poverty and
hardship for workers in Assam more likely, said the report
after interviewing 510 workers in 50 tea estates in the state
to ascertain the main challenges faced by workers.
    But, combined with rising costs and the impacts of the
climate crisis, it is also contributing to a severe economic
crisis for the entire Indian tea industry, it said.
    "The research also found that despite working for over
13 hours a day, workers earn between Rs 137 to Rs 167. It
found that tea brands and supermarkets typically capture over
two thirds of the price paid by consumers for Assam tea in
India - with just 7 per cent remaining for workers on tea
estates", said a release.
    For a 200 gram packet of branded Assam tea sold in
India for Rs 68, less than Rs 5 is left for workers while tea
brands and supermarkets retain around Rs 40, according to the
    The report-'Addressing The Human Cost of Assam Tea'-
stated that the proposed Code on Occupational Safety, Health
and Working Conditions Bill can enable the struggling Assam
tea industry viable.
    It can also ensure fair wages and decent working and
living conditions for tea plantation workers and their
    Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar said, "We welcome the
attempts of the government to increase the wages of tea
plantation workers and the upcoming Occupational Health and
Safety bill. Both have the potential to address the systemic
injustice faced by the tea workers in Assam."
    He said tea brands have often questioned the financial
viability of paying fair wages to workers, but the research
showed that "by sharing just two per cent additional value of
the price of tea, fair living wages can be provided to
millions of workers in the sector". PTI ESB

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)