Understanding Wage Issues in the Tea Industry

Publication date

02 May 2013


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Wage levels are an issue of concern across the globe as individuals, companies and governments wrestle with how wages paid to workers relate to costs of living, corporate and national competitiveness, profitability and broader macroeconomic trends and challenges.

The project was co-ordinated by Oxfam and the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) at a global level, and funded by IDH (the Sustainable Trade Initiative), ETP, Unilever, and Oxfam Novib. It was supported by the certification organisations: Fairtrade International, UTZ Certified and Rainforest Alliance; as well by the Ethical Trading Initiative and a number of NGOs active in the tea sector.

Desk research was conducted in 2011, to understand wages generally, and in the tea industry in three case study areas: Malawi, West Java (Indonesia) and Assam (India). It focused purely on hired labour on plantations, with a particular focus on tea pluckers. The in-country research was conducted between January and June 2012.