In May 2010 Gopal Tanti, a tea plantation worker, collapsed and died after spraying tea that ultimately finds its way onto your supermarket shelf in Tetley’s teabags.
Gopal was only 25 years old and his collapse, it seems, resulted from exposure to toxic pesticides without any safety equipment. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he may have survived but was denied medical treatment on the scene. As word got out, a spontaneous protest broke out. Police arrived and shot and killed two of the protestors.
Earlier, in another plantation that supplies Tata (owner of Tetley’s), Arti Oraon, an eight-month pregnant tea plucker was denied maternity leave and compelled to keep working. When her 1,000 co-workers protested against her treatment, management locked them out with no food or rations for three months!
Today they are seeking compensation for their lost livelihood over this period. You can support them by sending a message of support to Tata/Tetley’s.
Watch an interview with one of Arti’s co-workers here: