The spotlight sessions coincide with the board meetings and will usually take place at ETP’s London offices. They are short, focused sessions examining tea sustainability issues that are of particular interest to our members.
Understanding wage issues in the tea sector (sensitive and confidential information; do not share outside of ETP).
The wage issue was the focus of the first spotlight session. Currently, informed understanding of wages in the tea sector is low. Misunderstandings abound in terms of how wages are set, their value in terms of both cash and ‘in-kind’ provision, and how they relate to cost-of-production, national minimum wages and other benchmarks.
ETP is involved in a multi-stakeholder project to increase understanding of wage issues in the tea sector. The aim is to ensure that everyone involved in sustainability and tea has a clear factual understanding of these issues and are therefore better able to influence the debate on wages in a positive manner.
For the spotlight session, Ergon Associates presented the results of their initial desk-based research, including initial analysis of the value of wages in Malawi, Assam and Indonesia. Oxfam gave an overview of wage initiatives in other sectors and set out their perspective on wage issues in supply chains. Below are PDFs of both presentations.Understanding Wages in the Tea Industry (Ergon Associates) Tackling Living Wage Issues (Oxfam)
For the next phase of the wage project, local researchers have been contracted to complete work in Malawi, Ergon will be carrying out stakeholder interviews in India early 2012, and recruitment for local researchers in Indonesia is under way.
China: an overview
The China Programme has developed rapidly over the last 2-3 years, and is now a multi-faceted programme working with all key suppliers in some capacity. In 2011 we began to implement the SAQ to align our work in China with the rest of ETP, with some initial audits planned for 2012. Health and safety remains a big issue and while our project has brought about significant improvements, further support is needed on some aspects such as how to conduct regular risk assessments. Feedback from the agrochemical programme emphasises the long-term nature of the work and that it is groundbreaking within the Chinese tea industry. We have also initiated an HR project to develop training on compliance with recent Chinese labour legislation, including the development of an HR toolkit showing examples of paperwork.
Hubert very successfully developed the relationships with suppliers and enabled us to get started with this variety of practical projects. While we look for a new Regional Manager to replace him, it is timely that we should have a Spotlight Session on China to reflect on our experience and how we develop an integrated strategic approach across the programme. The session was both an update and a stimulus for thinking about how best to do this. An overview of China (Spotlight Session)
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