Labour Codes Training for Assam Tea Garden Workers

Labour Codes Training for Assam Tea Garden Workers

The Centre passed a series of Labour Codes in 2020 during September and November. These four Labour Codes are Industrial Relations CodeCode on Occupational Safety, Social Security Code and Code on Wages. The Codes are yet to be notified. Its implementation will take some more time since the states have not prepared their state-specific rules yet.

The Labour Codes will have significant impacts on the informal sector workers including the tea garden workers. A need was thus felt to train the workers around these Codes. The existing Plantation Labor Act, 1951 which used to govern the tea industry will be  subsumed under these Codes. Different aspects of the Act will now feature in these four codes. 

Our ongoing project on improving the lives of tea plantation workers in Assam’s seven districts, aims to enhance understanding of tea plantation workers’ collectives on their labour rights and entitlements. It also aims to increase women’s participation in key decision-making process . To increase the participation of women and other their counterparts in different forums, the key strategy is to build their capacities around labour rights, their entitlements and decent working conditions so that they can advocate for their rights.   

In the above context, Oxfam India in collaboration with Centre for Workers’ Management initiated a training programme for workers across seven districts of Assam, during the month of June. This online training will be attended by 30 groups in the first phase. These groups mainly  comprise youth leaders from the plantations, workers and women members who are affiliated with different federations and groups. The training is planned such that this group will further train workers from different plantations spread across the districts. 60% of the participants are women and girls.

The training is currently focussing on the operations of the tea supply chain. The trainees will be trained on different aspects of the existing tea supply chain and how it has witnessed significant transformations with the increasing growth of small tea growers. During the training, workers expressed that the existing supply chain is not transparent as many of them are not aware of where the tea, produced in their factories, goes and how and where it is sold. The training helped them to understand the process where Government plays a critical role in deciding the price through regular auctions and the role brokers can play a role in deciding the price.

The next training is on Labour Codes. The entire loop of the training is expected to be completed in another two months. At the end of it 35-40 participants will be trained who then can train almost 600-700 workers.

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