Throughout tea plantations in India, workers have been denied fair wages and suffer from hunger and malnutrition. The India tea sector accounts for 31% of global tea production and employs over 1.2 million workers. Women compose over half of this workforce and the most are employed to pluck tea - the most labour-intensive part of production.
Nazdeek Trust, a human rights organization, in collaboration with other NGO’s is developing a campaign to improve working conditions on tea plantations in Assam, India. The organization was in need of legal assistance to research existing laws, policies, and agreements pertaining to living and working conditions of Indian labours.
Through Trustlaw, LawQuest partnered with Nazdeek Trust to develop a two-pronged research project focusing on the unfair labour practices and minimum wage laws of tea planation workers. The research explored whether a claim could be filed under India’s 1947 Industrial Disputes Act addressing unfair labour practices on the part of trade unions as well as included an analysis of relevant statutes related to wage as set forth in the Minimum Wages Act.
“This project has been very close to my heart as I spent a large portion of my childhood growing up on the tea estates of Ooty. The plight of the workers and their family touched a deep cord and therefore I decided to take on this project,” said Poorvi, Founder & Managing Partner of LawQuest.
The research is being used by Nazdeek Trust to advocate for fair labour practices and increased wages of tea planation workers. The hope of this project is for every worker and laborer across all industries in India to receive fair compensation in proper working conditions per the “Minimum Wages Act 1948”.
“Our work was based solely on the plight of the Assam tea workers and the “Minimum Wages Act 1948”, however seeing how well received this report has been, we do hope that the impact will be far reaching, not only helping the workers in Assam tea estates but also workers and laborers all over India," said Poorvi.
This project has been nominated for the 2015 TrustLaw Collaboration Award. Learn more about the TrustLaw Awards.