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Major tea firms investigating poor working conditions on Sri Lankan plantations

Tetley and Lipton among other major tea manufacturers are investigating the working conditions on tea plantations in Sri Lanka following a Guardian investigation which revealed that workers were unable to pay for food and were living in unsanitary conditions.

The investigation also revealed that estate owners provided workers with no support during the island's economic crisis. Workers reported that supervisors denied them pay.

Tea pickers have stated that they have had to skip meals and send their children to work to compensate for their inadequate earnings. 

Fairtrade and the Rainforest Alliance, two globe trade-certification schemes, are also investigating the working conditions of plantations in Sri Lanka.

Tea exports generated an estimated £1.079bn for the island. Over 300,000 Sri Lankans are employed by tea plantations. Most of the workers are Malayaga Tamil descendants of indentured laborers brought to the island by British colonizers. 

According to The Guardian, Tetley has suspended work in some of its Sri Lankan estates while investigating the work conditions. Yorkshire Tea stated that it was speaking to the plantations concerned. Ekaterra, the company which owns PG Tips and Lipton, has stated that it is currently in contact with the Rainforest Alliance.

Read The Guardian article here

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