Dealing with Labour Issues in Export Supply Chains – Labour Rights and CSR – The Case of Thailand.

Jointly organized by the ILO-IPEC programme and ECOT, the meeting will be an opportunity to provide better understanding of labour and human rights issues in supply chains as well as proactive approaches to address these issues in industry and businesses in Thailand. The half-day meeting is part of a partnership between the ILO and the Royal Thai Government to work on the issues of child labour, forced labour and improvements of working conditions and competitiveness of businesses in Thailand.

On 4 May 2012, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Employers’ Confederation of Thailand (ECOT) jointly hosted a workshop at the Amari Watergate in Bangkok. Entitled “Dealing with Labour Issues in Export Supply Chains- Labour Rights and CSR- The Case of Thailand” the workshop was attended by representatives of the Thai business community, US Embassy, and ILO. Throughout the half-day session, presentations by ILO, ECOT, Asian Seafoods Coldstorage (ASC), and Siam Makro PLC illustrated the importance of high labour standards to businesses.
ASC Senior Vice President Pornsak Limboonyaprasert’s assertion that their attention to worker welfare facilitated the ability to issue dividends, and Cambodia’s enhanced international image due to the ILO’s Better Work project led participants to discuss the effect of labour standards on both individual companies and the business environment as a whole. While attendees expressed support for the concept of high labour standards, ensuring these are respected in practice is an area for further ILO-ECOT cooperation.
Echoed throughout the workshop was the need to think beyond merely adding an additional layer of third-party audits. Multiple attendees expressed interest in streamlining the numerous audits they currently undergo, and while ILO consultant Thanida Disyabut pointed out that the auditor-company relationship has evolved from adversarial to a partnership for sustainability, she emphasized that business-led initiatives are what truly effect rapid change. Therefore, results of collaborative efforts, such as that of the ILO and Thai Frozen Foods Association in the shrimp and seafood processing industries, are bound to be of interest to all business in Thailand.