Shrimp processing. (Photo: Stock File)
Labour group claims shrimp industry labour condition urgent reform
Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
The International Labour Forum (ILRF) has strongly advised the International Labour Organization (ILO) to take into account the conclusions drawn in a recently published report on the working conditions in the Thai shrimp industry, since the latter has devised a project to reform it.
The report called The Walmart Effect: Child and Worker Rights Violations at Narong Seafood was jointly released by the ILRF and Warehouse Workers United (WWU).
ILRF's request arises as ILO has undertaken the development of a Good Labour Practice (GLP) programme, which was launched on 16 September, 2013.
For the issue of the above-mentioned report, seven shrimp processing plants in the south of Thailand were scrutinized and documented and several irregularities became evident there. Among them, serious breaches of international human rights which include child labour, workers being charged inflated fees for passports and work permits, wage theft and falsification of labour documents.
The report describes that many of these processing plants, which were certified by the industry-led Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) auditing system, provided giant hypermarket Walmart with their products. The chain was leading the way in regards to developing BAP standards and was also actively involved in developing the initial stages of the ILO programme.
Speaking on the subject, ILRF director of campaigns, Abby Mills, said: “Walmart is using its outsized footprint on global supply chains to exploit these workers. It is the largest buyer of imported, farm-raised shrimp in the United States, the largest market for Thai exporters, and can play producers off each other to get lower prices. That is Walmart’s goal, and it unfortunately comes at a great human cost.”
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