Since 2014, Nazdeek has been providing strategic legal and advocacy support to local organizations in Assam to support their efforts to demand higher wages for tea garden workers. Nazdeek has supported these demands by delivering trainings on issues of minimum wage, labour standards and welfare benefits. We have also developed campaign materials (graphics, flyers, booklets) for tea garden workers and activists to raise awareness on the legal rights of workers to receive minimum wage. Nazdeek members have written media articles, provided editorial support to articles to encourage media coverage of the campaign and have met with government officials such as the Labour Minister and Assistant Labour Commissioner to advocate for higher wages consistent with the law. We have also conducted research and analysis and identified economists to calculate Minimum Living Wage for tea garden workers in Assam based on the universally accepted 15th Indian Labour Conference norms and Supreme Court orders.
At the international level, Nazdeek, with the support of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, has hosted roundtables with tea certifying agencies and organizations such as Fairtrade, Oxfam, Rainforest Alliance, Ethical Tea Partnership and Ethical Trading Initiative. The roundtables raised the issue of slavery in the tea supply chain and called for improved working and living conditions for labourers in Assam. The roundtables have resulted in a commitment by certifying organizations to build a consensus on improving living and working conditions in Assam's tea gardens by placing pressure on their company partners.
Together with workers and activists, we have secured higher wages for nearly 800,000 workers in Assam and are supporting a grassroots and global movement to demand dignified conditions in Assam's tea gardens.