Time for a cuppa?
Whether you take it white, black or green – it’s a drink thousands of years old and enjoyed by millions. While it’s a life source for countless workers, the sector’s colonial legacy of poor wages and inadequate working conditions has been hard to shake.
A small leaf, some big problems
Tea is a multi-billion dollar industry with millions of workers. But often, the balance of power sits in the hands of just a few multinational tea brands.
Let’s break the problems down. The bulk of all the tea around the world comes from large plantations. The workers or ‘pluckers’ – who do all the tea leaf plucking – live nearby or on the estate. The conditions they face include very low wages and poor working conditions, this is especially tough when you’re there with your family, as is often the case. If you’re a small-scale farmer your issues may be a lack of bargaining power or decent agricultural tools. That’s where Fairtrade comes in.
Fairtrade collaborates with the estates and small-scale farmers to improve working conditions, wages and daily life for the workers. If you’re a Fairtrade certified producer you receive a Fairtrade Minimum Price that protects against price drops. Beyond this, producers can also receive a Fairtrade Premium where workers and producers can decide how to spend it, be that on education for families or empowerment projects.
Fairtrade is also part of an international coalition to address the low wages of tea workers across the globe. So buying Fairtrade tea means you are supporting these initiatives and ultimately, the workers who tirelessly pluck away at all those tea crops.
Make a cup of Fairtrade Tea. Make a difference.
After more than two decades working in the sector, here’s how far Fairtrade Tea has come:
Good things are brewing for women workers!
Bet you didn’t know that 26 percent of all Fairtrade tea farmers and workers are women. Here is just one of the success stories:
Nestled in the Blue Mountains of Southern India is the Dunsdale Tea Estate. They export to Europe and the USA and supply the world’s largest Fairtrade brand, Clipper Tea (which is also available in Australia and New Zealand). Almost 60 percent of the workers there are women and since certification in 2010, the benefits of the Fairtrade Premium and Fairtrade Standards have been life-changing.
One of the workers, Susheela, has worked there for an impressive 38 years. In this time, the Fairtrade Premium has helped provide education for her three daughters. Education and associated accommodation that would not have been afforded otherwise. The other benefits seen at Dunsdale are improved working conditions and the purchase of basic household items like fridges and cooking items – the things we take for granted.
Want to help support women like the workers at Dunsdale? Buy Fairtrade tea. It’s as easy as boiling the kettle!
Where to buy Fairtrade Tea
We can guarantee you will find a Fairtrade tea out there that will tickle your fancy, just look for the Fairtrade Mark in the aisle where you find tea, coffee and other hot beverages.