“What I learned from a day at the docks with Thailand’s labour inspectors”

Benjamin Smith, Senior Officer for Corporate Social Responsibility

Kuanruthai Siripatthanakol, National Project Coordinator (Thailand), GMS TRIANGLE Project

In an icy cold room in the fishing port of Samut Sakhon, a labour inspector reads over the payroll ledger of a small shrimp peeling shed. Most of the workers are from Myanmar and some of them appear to be very young. They are hesitant to discuss their situation with the inspectors, especially as their employer looks on. The ledger reveals discrepancies in the number of hours worked and payment of the daily minimum wage of 300THB (about US$ 9.15).

I’m here as part of a five-day training course for labour inspectors from the coastal provinces of Thailand.

Continue reading

Children belong in school, not in supply chains

Benjamin Smith, Senior Officer for Corporate Social Responsibility

Benjamin Smith, Senior Officer for Corporate Social Responsibility
International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour

The importance of employers in the worldwide movement against child labour has never been clearer. The corporate responsibility to respect human rights, including a child’s right to be free from child labour, is now widely recognized. Today, companies that don’t have a policy against child labour are outside the mainstream.

The challenge is to ensure that policy commitments achieve results — and this requires action on the ground, in workplaces and communities. I was in Blantyre, Malawi recently to train a company’s agronomists on combating child labour in agriculture. Every day, these agronomists — who are mostly young men and women — travel huge distances over rough terrain on Honda 125 motorcycles, visiting farms to advise farmers on when to plant, what fertilizers work best and when to harvest.

Continue reading

South-South Cooperation: a path to eliminating child labour in Latin America

Anita Amorim, ILO Senior External Relations Specialist: South-South and UN Affairs

Anita Amorim, ILO Senior External Relations Specialist: South-South and UN Affairs

The Global South-South Development Expo (GSSD Expo) is an annual event organized by the UN System to showcase innovative solutions that have proven effective in one country and have been successfully replicated and adapted to other countries from the Global South. In the framework of this event, the ILO organizes an annual “Solution Forum” which focuses on decent-work solutions devised by governments and workers’ and employers’ organizations from the Global South.

Since I started working on South-South Cooperation at the ILO in 2005, we have been actively promoting these kinds of exchanges between countries from the South. Brazil, for example, has been an active development partner for the ILO, supporting cooperation programmes mainly in Latin America and Africa.

Continue reading