Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Fair Trade doesn't mean fair pay for tea workers in India

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The growth of fair trade and organic in Darjeeling fits within a wider kind of stipulation of demand

for kind of tea in general. Tea is know this health beverage, you know, it's associated

with antioxidants and weight loss and all of these wonderful things. And, you know,

especially in the United States people are drinking more tea, but they're looking for

a certain kind of tea and they're looking for tea that's organic and fits within in

a vision of good production. We see in Darjeeling, formally closed plantations, meaning the plantation

had closed for twenty years and workers weren't receiving wages, we are seeing those plantations

not only open, but we're seeing plantations that are open expanding cultivation to supply

that organic and fair trade demand. Organic and fair trade tea sells at exponentially

higher prices on a retail market, but workers get paid no more for fair trade or organic

tea, they get a state mandated minimum wage. Wage arrangements are based on three year,

kind of, cycles. The Gorkhaland politicians were successful in helping get that wage from

63 ruppees, 68 rupees a day to 90 rupees a day. And part of that I talk about in the book with workers,

kind of, going on hunger strikes and really being informed because of fair trade and organic

certification all of these tourist are coming to the plantations, kind of, understanding

how much their tea is selling for. And they're making, at the time, 50 rupees a day, 60 rupees

a day, just over a dollar a day to produce this product that is just expensive and fine.

And on this plantations workers have no idea what fair trade is, not a clue, no matter

how I translate it, workers don't know what fair trade is because it is not producing

any real, physical material, monetary benefits. And so unless fair trade can translate into

something material for each and every worker on the plantation, we kind of have to ask:

do all production systems fit into this fair trade model? Certainly it fits in cooperatives

but when it's translated onto tea plantations, which are very colonial rooted systems, of

exploitation and indenture, things we can't forget. So to kind of engage with that elephant

in the room, that just remarkable inequality is, we need to that first.

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