Tamil tea pickers face wildlife threats at work
Leeches, wasps, and wild animals such as boars and leopards are some of the hazards faced by women tea pickers in Sri Lanka.
If that’s not enough, they are also exposed to hot sun, heavy rains, and have few breaks and no access to toilet facilities.
These findings were the result of surveys with 121 tea pickers and 122 factory workers.
Both groups of women had high rates of back pain and the vast majority said their health was “poor” or they were sick “most of the time”.
Those in the garment factories worked on average over 10 hours a day.
The researchers also found that the women had little involvement in union activity and were not well informed about labour laws and their workplace entitlements.
As a result they lacked the confidence and knowledge to raise these issues with their employers.
The second part of this UnionAID funded project with the Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union will follow up on a number of recommendations for improving work conditions, including training for trade union involvement.