Good Labour Practices programme for addressing child labour and forced labour in Thai fisheries industry launched

A Good Labour Practices (GLP) programme, a major labour protection initiative for the seafood industry in Thailand was launched today on 16th of September 2013 at the Rama Gardens Hotel Convention Hall, Bangkok, Thailand. The initiative is supported by the International Labour Organization (ILO) through its International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC).

News | 17 September 2013
The Good Labour Practices (GLP) programme is a comprehensive fisheries industry improvement programme which combines the establishment of industry guidelines on application of labour legislation and good practices and development of the supportive training programme aimed at improving labour conditions at the enterprise level.

High-level representatives of the Royal Government of Thailand and the Seafood Industry together with industry members who joined the GLP Programme.
The launch was presided by Mr Siriwat Kajornprasart, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Ms Pranin Muttaharach, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, and Mr Maurizio Bussi, Officer-in-Charge of the ILO Country Office for Thailand, Cambodia and Lao People's Democratic Repubic. Over 300 participants attended the launch including industry representatives, Government officials, representatives of Trade Unions and NGO’s working on labour issues in the industry and officials of diplomatic corps.

Customized GLP guidelines are being developed for each of the fisheries industry sub-sectors: fishing, marine shrimp farms, primary processing establishments and processing/packing factories. The GLP Guidelines for Shrimp and Seafood Processing workplaces was released during the launch. A ceremony for signing up to the GLP training programme by seafood industry members was part of the event.

The ILO applauds the seafood industry’s initiative to pursue to apply a zero tolerance regime against child labour, forced labour and human trafficking and to improve working conditions across their supply chains. The GLP creates a joint platform for the industry including Government, Employers and Workers to jointly solve problems and to ensure that positive changes take effect across the industry” said Mr Maurizio Bussi who represented ILO in the launch.

The US Embassy representative Ms Miriam Awad, Deputy Economic Counsellor who spoke at the event complimented the industry partners for initiating the programme and spoke of the need for the GLP programme partners not only to ensure application of appropriate labour conditions in their own enterprises but also to promote positive change within the industry as a whole. “The US Department of Labour who finances the ILO-IPEC programme in Thailand is happy to support these efforts to address child labour and establish joint industry standards” she said.

Seafood industry members are signing the Letter of Intent for participating in the GLP programme.
“These initiatives have great potential to change the lives of workers and to show how working conditions can be improved, child labour and forced labour addressed and general wellbeing of migrant workers in the industry advanced through the tripartite cooperation in Thailand” said Mr Tuomo Poutiainen, Project Manager for the ILO-IPEC in Thailand. “Learning from this work can be used in other countries and also in other industry sectors in Thailand” he added.

An orientation to the Good Labour Practices programme for over 70 shrimp and seafood primary processing enterprise managers was organised right after the launch during which child labour and forced labour in the industry was discussed and the training process was introduced to the participants.

GLP Orientation for seafood primary processors.
Following the GLP launch, Good Labour Practices pilot training will be conducted during the next six months involving 30 large size seafood processing factories and some 60 primary processing establishments.

The local Government, Trade Unions and NGO’s will help disseminate the GLP Guidelines to employers and workers particularly within the informal segment of the industry in order to create awareness on existing standards and to familiarize them with appropriate responses to child labour and forced labour.