Improving conditions in tea plantations in Assam

In collaboration with Fairtrade Foundation and key industry stakeholders, the Lab undertook a market system analysis in Assam to understand the key working and living condition challenges on plantations and develop a set of recommendations to address these. The report explores low wages and poor working conditions alongside low worker productivity.

Embracing a market systems approach the analysis explores deficiencies in four market functions: the market for professional services, in particular covering labour productivity; the suppliers of equipment to plantations directly related to worker and resident quality of life, such as personal protective equipment and domestic products; the role of worker organisations on plantations; and access to information for plantation residents. Governing rules and regulations are particularly important to plantations in India and helped explain some of the challenges facing plantations. As such, the report explores four key elements of the enabling environment: the regulatory environment, and in particular the Plantation Labour Act; trade unions and collective bargaining platforms; sector business co-ordination; and certification schemes.