Fair Trade and Hired Labor

Fair Trade:

There are 2 main types of FAIRTRADE standards for developing country producers – for smallholder producer organisations and for hired labour situations. Fairtrade standards for smallholder producer organisations include requirements for democratic decision making, ensuring that producers have a say in how the Fairtrade premiums are invested. They also include requirements for capacity building and economic strengthening of the organisation. Fairtrade standards for hired labour situations ensure that workers receive decent wages and enjoy the freedom of join unions and bargain collectively. Fairtrade certified plantations must also ensure that there is no forced or child labour and that health and safety requirements are met. In a hired labour situation, Fairtrade standards require a “joint body” to be set up with representatives from both management and workers. This joint body decides on how Fairtrade premiums will be spent to benefit plantation workers.

For some products, such as coffee, only Fairtrade standards for smallholder organisations are applicable. For others, such as tea, both smallholder producers and plantations can be certified.

Why is Fair Trade hostile to hired labor in the production of coffee but not tea?