Union wins new gains for Tata/Tetley West Bengal tea workers
Following the agreement in May 2011 to resolve the long dispute between workers and Amalgamated Plantations Private Ltd (APPL).at the company’s Nowera Nuddy tea garden in northern West Bengal, the union has once again with IUF support won further important gains. APPL is majority-owned by Tata Global Beverages, part of India’s Tata Group.
Building on the settlement which brought comprehensive maternity rights protection, union members and their families expressed concern over the appalling conditions of the houses on the tea estate, which left homes exposed to unsafe conditions including flooding. The union also demanded new school buses. The nearest school is 20 kilometers distance, and with buses regularly breaking down and sent for repair, children were unable to attend school for a week at a time, often missing out on crucial attendance and examinations. Lack of regular access to school, union members argued, would affect their future education and employment.
In response the union, with support from IUF, brought these demands to management and successfully negotiated extensive house repairs and the purchase of a new school bus. On March 31 the new school bus was delivered and union members and their families celebrated another important gain in the improvement of working and living conditions.