Tea brands vow to improve conditions after damning BBC tea estate report

08 September 2015 by
Tea brands vow to improve conditions after damning BBC tea estate report

Tea brands including PG Tips, Tetley, Yorkshire Tea, and Twinings have vowed to improve the tea estates they buy from in India after a BBC investigation found "dangerous and degrading" working conditions.

According to BBC News today, in a report by Justin Rowlatt and Jane Deith, the joint investigation by Radio 4's File on Four and the British news channel found tea workers in Assam, north-east India, living in broken houses without nearly no sanitation or working toilets, and sometimes cesspools overflowing into houses.

One of the estates is question is owned by giant tea producer, McLeod Russel, which supplies tea to the companies PG Tips, Liptons, Tetley and Twinings. Unilever owns PG Tips and Liptons, and has said it takes the allegations seriously and will continue to work to "raise standards".

The producer admitted to the BBC that there is "a huge backlog of repairs", and that conditions were "not acceptable". Other estates implicated include Doomur Dulling, owned by the Assam Company.

The Indian Tea Association has also condemned the conditions, and said that decent housing and sanitation should form part of a tea worker's pay, although the Assam Company has called the BBC's findings "baseless and false".

Harrods, which also stocks tea from the affected estates, has removed Doomur Dulling tea from its shelves in response to the BBC findings, while Taylors of Harrogate said it was "investigating as a matter of urgency".

The rise of the tea shop >>

Time to talk about tea >>

Are you looking for a new role? See all the current hospitality vacancies available with The Caterer Jobs >>

Latest video from The Caterer

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking