Protect plantation workers from abuse on Lujeri tea estates

Protect plantation workers from abuse on Lujeri tea estates

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RUBY David started this petition to Pgi and

Plantation workers on British owned Lujeri Tea Estates in Malawi are facing, and have been facing, grave mistreatment ranging from unfair wages and abysmal working conditions to rape and sexual assault. While knowledge of this abuse has just recently resurfaced, claims of such conditions have been circulating as early as 2011. Although companies like PG Tips and Lipton have spoken out to condemn such mistreatment, little to no action has been taken to actively change this.

This is evident in the recent report, among 31 others, of a woman who said she was raped by a supervisor in a tea field and contracted HIV, fell pregnant, lost her job and had a stillborn baby. Further rights violations include unsanitary housing,  contaminated food rations, and children being paid as little as 20p a day for hours of back-breaking work.

Lujeri supplies the ‘big six’ of UK tea companies; PG Tips, Twinings, Tetley, Yorkshire, Typhoo, and Clipper comprise around 70 per cent of the UK market with annual sales of around £500 million. PGI is the multinational UK headquartered parent company of these groups. 

Although Lujeri says that it works with and is independently audited by the Rainforest Alliance (who require workers to be treated respectfully and never subjected to threats, intimidation, sexual abuse or harassment, or verbal, physical or psychological mistreatment), there is still a systemic problem of male supervisors at plantations abusing their positions of power in relation to the women working under them with rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual coercion and discriminatory behaviour. The claimants, among the poorest in the world, often submit to the sexual harassment for fear of losing their employment.

By raising awareness of these human rights violations, these companies will no longer be supported by the public, forcing them to implement real changes to the treatment of the workers they are meant to be responsible for.

Involvement of world organisations could allow the improvements of this effort to expand further than just Malawi, helping mistreated workers across the globe. 

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