With the intention to end unacceptable forms of child labour more than 100 seafood firms have joined the International Labour Organisation’s Good Labour Practices (GLP) programme.
In order to tackle the problem in a proactive manner, these seafood plants have signed a memorandum of understanding this week, in which they made the commitment to adopt good labour practice guidelines for primary processing workplaces in the shrimp and food industries, The Nation reported.
The initiative has the goal of helping seafood workers by addressing such as forced labour, workplace discrimination, child labour and sub-standard working conditions. The GLP is a cooperation between the government and individual businesses to ensure international labour standards are met within the industry.
Despite the fact that the problem has significantly improved since 2010, it hasn’t disappeared altogether, as Sompong Srakaew, Labour Rights Promotion Network’s (LPN) founder and executive director, told the Bangkok Post: “Despite an intensive crackdown this year and in 2012, it doesn’t mean that the problems will disappear. We still have a reason to believe that there might be some businesses that simply do not care or are not members of related associations. These are the ones you can’t control.”
Among the companies that have joined the GLP programme is Thai Union Frozen Products.
“We have always been committed to good labour practices. We will continue to take appropriate measures to ensure all labour practices are of an internationally [recognised] ethical standard,” president Thiraphong Chansiri remarked at the signing of the memorandum.
According to the President of the Thai Frozen Foods Association, Poj Aramwattananont, the shrimp industry has come under scrutiny in the past six years. For that reason, the Association will be adopting the GLP which will serve as an official auditor and provide guidelines for the seafood industry.
The Thai seafood industry exports around 1 million tonnes every year valued at THB 200 billion (US$6.29 billion) being a source of employment for over 1 million people. Thailand occupies the fourth place on the US Tier 2 Watch list of goods produced by child labour, according to its Labour Department.