Wednesday, June 02, 2010


Tata-Tea Limited is the second largest manufacuturer and distributer of tea in the world. It markets under brands such as Tata Tea, Tetley, Good Earth Teas and JEMCA. It is te largesy brand in India, Canada and Britain and the second largest in the USA. To maintain this dominance the company squeezes its workers as hard as it can. In the Indian state of West Bengal the company has obtained the collusion of the state government in issueing arrest warrants for 12 union activists on the estates of its subsidiary the Nowera Nuddy Tea Estate. The following call for solidarity with these workers comes from the international union federation the IUF.
Tata Group Escalates Repression Against Bengal Tea Workers
Leaders of a West Bengal tea plantation workers' protest last year against the abusive treatment of a pregnant 22 year-old tea garden worker could face prison sentences of up to 7 years, if India's powerful Tata Group has its way. Tata is lashing out against nearly 1,000 tea plantation workers and their families living and working on the Nowera Nuddy Tea Estate in West Bengal, India. In the latest developoment, arrest warrants have been issued for 12 workers on the estate - including the woman whose abusive treatment sparked the protests leading to a crushing 4-month lockout last year when she was refused maternity leave and forced to pluck tea while 8 months pregnant. Tata's wholly-owned Tetley Tea, the second largest global tea brand, sources tea from the company which operates the Nowera Nuddy Tea Estate, Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited. And Amalgamated is majority owned by...Tata.

The Nowera Nuddy workers, together with other tea workers in West Bengal and elsewhere in India, are challenging their harsh and oppressive living and working conditions. The arrest warrants are a clear message that this challenge will not be tolerated. Far from Nowera Nuddy, meanwhile, consumers continue to be targeted with 'initiatives' and 'sustainability' exercises designed to mask the reality of tea workers' lives and struggles.

You can support the Nowera Nuddy workers' struggle for rights, dignity and justice - send a messsage to Tata/Tetley.
Please go to this link to send the following letter to the management of the Tata Tea Group.

To Mr Peter Unsworth, CEO, Tetley Group
Mr. Ratan N Tata, Chairman, Tata Tea Ltd/Tata Global Brands
Mr Percy T. Siganporia, Managing Director, Tata Tea Ltd/Tata global Brands

Dear Sirs,

I am outraged to learn that 12 workers on the Nowera Nuddy Estate owned by Amalgamated Plantations, a company which supplies tea to Tata and to Tetley, now face criminal charges and lengthy prison terms in retaliation for their protest against the mistreatment last year of Mrs. Arti Oraon. Mrs. Araon, who was denied maternity leave and forced to pluck tea while 8 months pregnant in violation of the law, is among the twelve. I call on you to act to ensure that the complaints behind these criminal charges are dropped; that all workers suspended for taking part in the related protests be immediately reinstated at their jobs with full back pay and the so-called 'domestic enquiry' dropped; that an apology be issued to Mrs. Oraon; and that the management enter into immediate good faith negotiations with the estate Workers' Action Committee, whose members are now part of the Progressive Tea Workers Union, to resolve these issues and ongoing problems stemming from substandard living and working conditions on the estate.

I will be closely following developments on the Nowera Nuddy estate.

Yours sincerely

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