By Cliff White, Executive Editor
Published on Wednesday, March 23, 2016
The International Labour Organization, an agency of the United Nations, has partnered with the government of Thailand to combat labor rights violations in that country’s seafood industry.
The 42-month project will be funded by the European Union and the ILO and aims to address “working conditions that deny fundamental principles and rights at work in the Thai fishing and seafood processing industry,” according to a press release from the Thai government.
The ILO launched the project on 17 March and is working in conjunction with Thailand’s Ministry of Labour on the project, which is officially titled, “Combatting Unacceptable Forms of Work in the Thai Fishing Industry.”
The project will seek to align Thailand’s legal and regulatory framework with international labor standards, strengthen law enforcement both on land and at sea, and improve legal compliance in Thailand’s private sector. It will also work with seafood buyers around the globe to increase their awareness of labor rights issues affecting the seafood industry in Thailand and encourage them to push for better labor standards from their Thai business partners.
“We are eager to get started and work with all partners to transform an industry which today is associated with unacceptable forms of work – to an industry associated with social justice and decent work,” said Maurizio Bussi, director of the ILO Country Office for Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.
Ambassador Jesus Sanz, head of the E.U. delegation in Thailand, said the project is part of the E.U.’s support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“We are concerned that many victims of forced or child labor have no voice and no possibility to escape from extreme working conditions. We welcome the firm commitment of the Thai government to move ahead and address the issue with determination,” Sanz said.
Thailand’s Minister of Labor, General Sirichai Ditthakul, said the Thai government would continue to support projects and partners such as the ILO that would help the country “combat unacceptable forms of work in the Thai fishing and seafood industry.”
“I believe that to solve these problems, success can only be achieved through cooperation,” he said. “The launching ceremony, held at the Ministry of Labour, marks closer cooperation and constructive engagement between the Royal Thai Government, Thai workers’ and employers’ organizations, the private sector and civil society organizations.”