In July, Tata’s Tetley tea plantation workers in North East India filed a complaint with the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO), the World Bank Group’s accountability mechanism, reciting brutal working and living conditions on the plantations. It is estimated by US-based NGO Accountability Counsel that 20% of the plantations receive financing from the IFC, the World Bank’s private sector arm, through investment with Tata. As an investor the IFC is required to be responsible for the workers’ basic rights. Responding to the complaint, Tata met with representatives of the workers in the presence of the CAO in July. They discussed intimidation of workers who filed the complaint but failed to find a way forward through mediation, moving the case to the CAO’s compliance team. The CAO’s in-depth assessment is expected to be completed by end October.
World Bank & IMF in the news
EarthRights International examines how the Jam v. IFC case has helped to shift the landscape of accountability for international financial institutions by successfully challenging their claim to “absolute” immunity in US courts, potentially opening IFC up to further legal challenges in future.