Tetley and PG Tips have been slammed by human rights campaigners for failing to help overseas tea pickers out of poverty.

The brands were criticised alongside supermarket giant Sainsbury’s in a report by campaign group War on Want for contributing to poor conditions for workers in India and Kenya.

“People in Kena are suffering so that we can enjoy a cup of tea every day,” Simon McRae of War on Want told The Times. “It is unacceptable for British companies to exploit workers for our benefit.”

Sainsbury’s defended its track record of helping overseas workers.

“Because our tea is Fairtrade-certified, we’ve done more to ensure growers receive a fair and stable price for their crop than any other supermarket,” a spokesman for the retailer said.

Tetley owner Tata Global Beverages said ethical sourcing was “of paramount importance” and insisted the group was “fully aware of our responsibilities to the people who grow and pick our tea”.

PG Tips pointed out that as the brand is certified by the Rainforest Alliance, its “are paid at least the minimum wage and operate in a good, safe environment”.

Read more
Asda defends record on overseas wages (6 July 2010)
Sainsbury’s to ramp up food and drink sourced from Africa (27 February 2010)
The Co-op brings Fairtrade lines to Somerfield (18 February 2010)