FFM West Bengal/Assam. Objectives, Findings, Recommendations Cape Town, 01 September, 2016

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1 FFM West Bengal/Assam Objectives, Findings, Recommendations Cape Town, 01 September, 2016

2 Objectives To verify the cases of violations of the RTFN/related HR documented by members of the GNRTFN; To gather additional evidences on violations of the RTFN/related HR (e.g. health status, wages, impact of pesticides exposure, and access to drinking water) and how these issue impact the RTFN of tea plantation workers; To give visibility to the cases (linking of cases), and overall situation of tea plantation workers at national and international levels; To hold the India accountable toward its HR by taking immediate measures to ensure the realization of the RTFN/related HR in light of the government s review of the Plantation Labour Act. To contribute to current int l processes and dialogues (e.g. UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, UN Treaty to Regulate TNCs, UN HR Treaty Bodies General Comments, and Recommendations)

3 Members of the FFM FIAN, IUF, RTF Network/India, PBKMS, IBFAN, PAN Asia RTF Network/Nepal, FIAN Nepal

4 Methodology Assam; West Bengal (Darjeeling and Dooars) Preparatory meeting/debrief Semi-structured interviews, group interviews, case studies 17 plantations, 300 workers interviewed Meetings with other relevant actors Press Conferences in Calcutta and New Delhi Evaluation (questionnaire)

5 Holistic Approach to the RTFN Food Sovereignty Women s Rights Related Rights Nutrition

6 Tea

7 Key Findings

8 Lack of Security of Tenure

9 Violations of Women s Rights

10 Violations of Women Rights No promotional opportunities (lack of higher wages for women) High # of female casual workers -> no benefits -> ability to access basic social services Violations of maternity protection rights (health of mother during pregnancy, maternity leave benefits, breast-feedings breaks, pre/post natal care)

11 Violations of Women Rights - continued Large # of women suffer from nutritional anemia and eclampsia, death due to labour complications Teenage pregnancy Exposure of pesticides (possible reason for labour complications and birth defects) Lack of access to potable water Forced migration among women (West Bengal)

12

13 Insufficient Wages and Debt Abysmally low wages (INR 122) No alternative means of survival Piece rate Weight deduction of the leaves Delay and underpayment of wages Backlog of wages (Duncans) Poverty wage and cycle of indebtedness > dependency on tea plantation management

14 An Average Daily Meal Rice and chapatti (partially as food rations) Occasionally supplemented by dal and vegetables (cheapest); small home gardens Sparse (or almost non-existent) meat intake Insufficient and inadequate food rations Need to choose between buying food or paying for medicine/children s education Hantapara: rice and salt, mixed with tea flowers

15 Working and Living Conditions Right to Health (inadequate medical facilities, e.g. under-staffed, run-down, no proper treatment, no free medication (esp. casual workers, forced to visit state hospitals) Right to Eductation (inability to send beyond elementary school, high prevalence of stunting -> reduce learning capacity, inadequate elementary schools)

16 Plantation Hospital in Assam (by Nazdeek)

17 ICDS Center by the road side

18 House of a worker

19 Working and Living Conditions continued Right to Work: malnutrition -> reduces the capacity to work and increases the risk of diseases, reducing even further the capacity to work; right to freely chose or accept work (dependency); no-provision of protective equipment/lack of washing facilities for sprayers Right to Water and Sanitation: No potable water (labour line/plantations); lack of latrines; mixing of chemicals -> contamination of water

20 Spraying of pesticides without protective equipment

21 Key Recommendations Immediate actions to guarantee all HR, esp. RTFN, Work, Housing, Water/Sanitation, Education Pay urgent attention to closed gardens Immediate enforcement of the PLA, prosecute those who fail to comply and adequate remedy Take actions to put an end to all forms of discrimination against women and guarantee women s rights Ensure that any decisions in relation to the future of tea plantations (structural alternatives) are taken with the full involvement of the tea workers

22 Follow-up to the FFM HRC March 8th Event Country Visit (Special Rapporteur on Housing) Launch of the FFM Report on International Labour Day Presentation on maternity benefit and early child with the National Commission on Women (NCW) and the National Committee for the Protection of Child Rights Further advocacy planned (e.g. Presentation at ILO)

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