Safety + Health for All Plantation Workers in South Asia: Nepal Component

The ILO/Japan project on “Safety + Health for All Plantation Workers in South Asia” is being implemented in the framework of the ILO’s Flagship programme “Safety + Health for All”. The project will contribute towards improving the safety and health of workers in plantation sector in South Asia (India, Nepal, Sri Lanka). This page describes the Nepal component under the project.

Project background: Nepal

Plantation is an important sector for Nepalese economy for socio-economic growth and employment promotion. Plantation crop particularly, tea and cardamom sector is a highly growth oriented product in Nepal. It has the potential to contribute not only in economic growth but also promote employment. Nearly 100,000 workers are engaged in this sector and women represent almost 60 percent of the total workforce. Different reports from ILO and other stakeholders indicate vulnerability of workers, challenges related to safety and health as well as discrimination and harassment in workplaces.

The tea and cardamom sector is characterized by poor working conditions, lack of information and awareness on fundamental issues, low level of productivity and skills, inadequate access to public services, and weak trade union presence amongst other challenges. The challenges have been coupled with several consequences such as occupational hazards, occupational accidents and injuries, work-related diseases, unrecognised cases, complaints and absence of documentation and reporting mechanisms. Due to huge presence of women workers in this sector, some specific needs are also prevailing such as wage implementation, gender discrimination, separate change room, bathroom and gender related information. It has also reported that OSH is a major area of concern for the tea and cardamom sector in the value chain process, mainly chemical and biological hazards due to increasing use of agro chemicals with inadequate protection measures, it resulted in environmental impacts and deforestation.

Overall conditions of tea workers are very poor and characterized by low wages, poor hygiene, sanitation and health conditions, as well as limited workers’ representation. An important part of tea and cardamom workers are working for estates, but the number of smallholders is growing and the productivity of smallholder farmers is usually higher than the one of big estates. Tea cultivation is attractive to smallholders as it provides work and income throughout the year.

The project will contribute to the reduction of occupational diseases and accidents in plantations mainly tea and cardamom sector aligning with the four building blocks of the overall Safety + Health for All Strategy: Building Knowledge; Strengthening National Capacities; Creating conducive national frameworks and promoting demand for Safe and Healthy workplaces.

Project objective: Nepal Component

The project objectives are to promote safety and health for all plantation workers. For the Nepal component the immediate objectives are:
  1. Knowledge is generated and shared to improve the safety & health of workers in plantations in Nepal.
  2. National and local institutions are strengthened to promote and protect the safety & health of tea and cardamom workers in Nepal.
  3. Workplace and sector level initiatives/practices to promote safety & health of workers, with a focus on women workers are developed or strengthened in Nepal.
To this end, the project in Nepal will aim to:
  • Generate and share knowledge on constraints and opportunities to improve the safety and health of workers in the plantations mainly tea and cardamom sector.
  • Strengthen national and local institutions to better promote and protect the safety and health of plantation workers in tea and cardamom sector.
  • Develop or strengthen workplace and industry level practices and initiatives to promote the safety and health of workers in plantations in tea and cardamom sector.
The project will contribute towards strengthening institutional capacities, enhancing social dialogue, and strengthen application of national OSH laws, fundamental conventions and other international labour standards. The levels of intervention will span across enterprises or workplaces to sector-wide to national and sub-regional institutions, mechanisms and processes. Interventions will take place in both the formalised estates and more informalized smallholdings in tea and cardamom sectors. Specific focus will also be given to promoting prevention and mitigation of the COVID-19 crisis. The project will follow ILO guidelines for gender mainstreaming in OSH to assist project partners and stakeholders to take gender-sensitive approach and mainstreaming gender into all activities with the ultimate goal of improving the occupational safety and health of women and men workers.

Areas covered in Nepal:

The project will work at National and provincial level. The pilot interventions will focus in the following districts:
  • Ilam
  • Panchthar
  • Dhankuta
  • Jhapa
  • Taplejung

Implementing partners:

Government:
Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security (MoLESS); Department of Labour, Occupational Health and Safety; OSH Training Centre, Govt. of Nepal; National Tea and Coffee Development Board (NTCDB).

Employers:
Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI)

Trade Unions
Joint Trade Union Coordination Centre (JTUCC); National Trade Union Federations (ANTUF, GEFONT and NTUC).

Others
Agricultural Cooperatives & their federations, member-based organizations, media and academia.

Target beneficiaries:

The project will reach out to:

Federal level:
Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security (MoLESS); Department of labour and Occupational Safety; OSH Training Centre; Workers Organisations Employers Organisations; National Tea Development Board; National Tea and Coffee Development Board (NTCDB); Nepal Tea Producers’ Association (NTPA); Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC); Central Tea Cooperation Federation (CTCF); Nepal Federation of Cooperatives (NCF).

Local level:
Tea and Cardamom sector workers; Agriculture Development Offices; Labour Inspection Offices; Workers representatives; Employers’ representatives; Local municipalities.

Project contribution to Decent Work Country Programme

This project will contribute to the priority area 2 of the 2018-2022 Nepal Decent Work Country Program (DWCP): Strengthening institutional capacities, enhancing social dialogue, and applying fundamental conventions and other international labour standards. It will report under CPO NPL828 “the government and social partners have promoted fundamental principles and rights at work to protect workers especially from unacceptable forms of work.” (linked to P&B out 7.2.) also be linked to CPO NPL104 - Tripartite constituents have enforced the Labour Act (2017) and Labour Regulations (2018) (linked to output 1.3.).

For linkages to Sustainable Development Goals and ILO Programme and Budget, please see “Safety + Health for All Plantation Workers in South Asia”.

For further information, please contact:

Ms Bharti Birla
Chief Technical Advisor, South Asia
birla@ilo.org
+91-11- 4750 9240

Prakash Sharma
National Project Coordinator, Nepal
prakash@ilo.org
+977-5555777 (Ext: 122)