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That’s terrible, that’s Tetley! – tea workers denied their human right to safe drinking water

For generations, workers living and working on tea plantations in India have struggled with lack of access to safe, potable water and adequate sanitation facilities.

For the past two years, women workers on plantations in the states of Assam and West Bengal which supply tea to UK-based Tetley have been organizing to demand decent water and sanitation – a fundamental human right.

For years, workers complained to management; their complaints were ignored. With the support of the IUF, the workers, mainly women, formed water and sanitation committees on 6 plantations to document the abominable conditions and to propose concrete improvements.

At campaign meetings and rallies on World Water Day this year, the workers called on Tetley to acknowledge its responsibility to ensure respect for human rights in the supply chain by pushing local plantation management to engage in good faith negotiations with the committees.

TetleyteafolksIn response, Tetley has publicly acknowledged that plantation workers face water and sanitation ‘challenges’ (not human rights violations), and that it has a ‘phased action plan’ to address the challenges. The ‘action plan’ however, excludes the workers’ committees.

Workers have dismissed their claims, insisting that the issue is their right to water and sanitation, that lack of access to potable water and adequate sanitation facilities affect their families’ lives and health, and that there is no sustainable solution without their direct involvement.  You can see their short video HERE

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to Tetley insisting they address human rights violations by negotiating with the workers’ self-organized water and sanitation committees!

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