CAO Investigation into Tata-World Bank Plantations
One is a giant multinational corporation which owns the Tetley brand, the other an inter-governmental institution with a mandate to reduce poverty. In 2009, through a US$7.8 million investment by the World Bank Group, Tata created Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited (or APPL), the second largest tea producer in Assam. Over 155,000 tea workers live and work on APPL’s 25 tea plantations in the North-East of India.
Tata and the World Bank Group planned to empower tea workers by improving their living and working conditions, and providing them with ownership of the company. In theory, if workers became shareholders of APPL, they would gain decision-making power, increase their earnings, and lift themselves out of poverty.
Unfortunately, this plan has failed, according to a report just released by the World Bank Group’s accountability watchdog, known as the “CAO” (Compliance Advisor Ombudsman). Following an investigation process started in 2013, the report found that living and working conditions continue to be sub-standard on APPL plantations, that wages on the plantations do not protect the health of workers, and that APPL workers were not given proper information about the risks of share ownership and their rights as shareholders. So a plan to empower tea workers did not take off, and in some cases, ended up doing the very opposite. Today, they need your support to carry their voices to those in power.
Raise your voice to demand accountabiliTEA for workers in Assam and end exploitation on Assam’s tea plantations!