31 Oct 2020 Ferado

Coronavirus pandemic driving more children into child labour in India

The month-long nationwide lockdown which was announced to combat the spread of virus has devastated Indian economy and millions have lost their livelihoods prompting increase in number of poor children taking jobs to support their families. (Image: AFP)
The novel corona virus has impacted people’s lives and livelihoods. The pandemic has toppled economic and labour market resulting in many to lose their jobs causing difficulties for daily survival. The hunger crises instigated by the pandemic has forced millions of Indian children into child labour. More than 10 million children between the ages of 5 to 14 are working in farms and factories amid the situation exacerbated by the corona virus pandemic With schools shutdown and parents losing their jobs, children are pushed to take up jobs to help put food on the table. The corona virus pandemic has threatened the future of a generation of world’s children, depriving them of schooling and sending them to woe The month-long nationwide lockdown, which was announced to combat the spread of the virus, has devastated Indian economy and millions have lost their livelihoods, prompting an increase in the number of poor children taking jobs to support their families
Child labour has become a survival mechanism for many families around the world. An international news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) accompanied with Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), a children’s rights group, recently conducted raids together with police in New Delhi rescued children from different villages working in factories and restaurants. BBA has rescued 1,200 children since April, but more and more are being sent to work because of the epidemic. (Image: AFP)

Child labour has become a survival mechanism for many families around the world. An international news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) accompanied with Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), a children’s rights group, recently conducted raids together with the police in New Delhi and rescued children from different villages working in factories and restaurants. BBA has rescued 1,200 children since April, but more and more are being sent to work because of the epidemic.

31 Oct 2020 Ferado

Pakistani Workers Protest for End to Anti-Worker Policies

ISLAMABAD: One week following the World Day for Decent Work, Pakistani workers across the country converged in the capital city of Islamabad on 14 October and launched a massive sit-in protest calling for an end to anti-worker and anti-people policies. The sit-in protest garnered widespread support from a large number of unions, associations and organizations of government & public sector employees. The participants were truly diverse and workers from the postal, banking and insurance sectors were represented by the eight UNI affiliates in Pakistan who were joined by another two unions pending affiliation with UNI.  The protestors marched from the Islamabad Press Club to Jinnah Avenue where the sit-in action took place. Jinnah Avenue is a key road in the central business district of Islamabad leading up the main government buildings.

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During the march, they demanded an end to the neo-liberal economic policies due to the loans taken by the government from international financial institutions. They also demanded work and wage guarantee by the state, adjustment of wages to inflation, regularization of contract workers, instituting a proper basic pay scale structure, and an immediate end to the downsizing in government departments and privatization of education and health services.

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The Lady Health Workers Union (LHWU) was present in full force with its membership comprising all women. Founded in 2015 and formally registered in 2016, this unique union is dedicated to advocating for the rights of women frontline health workers of the government’s primary health care system. They play a key role in delivering services door-to-door within their communities. It has applied for affiliation with UNI Global Union.Suraiya Waseer, President of the LHWU, praised this gathering as a historic coalition to push the rights and plight of the working-class front and centre of the national debate. She said, “There is a growing human rights crisis in the country with more and more people unable to afford food, housing, schooling, medical intervention, or even clean water. We demand that the state fulfil its responsibility toward the welfare of people and ensure access to necessities such as food and shelter.”   While Razia Ashraf, LHWU General Secretary, added, “Unmitigated capitalism hurts women more than men as poverty is much higher amongst women. Privatization of essential services makes it even more difficult for women to access basic and fundamental rights, such as free and affordable education and health, pushing them further into poverty, and into financially and socially precarious positions.”

31 Oct 2020 Ferado

Child labor on the rise in the cocoa industry

The world’s chocolate companies depend on cocoa produced with the aid of more than 1 million West African child workers, according to a new report produced by NORC at the University of Chicago. Despite cocoa industry promises to eradicate the practice, child labour is on the rise.

In 2001, some of the world’s largest chocolatiers — including Nestlé, Hershey and Mars — pledged to eradicate “the worst forms of child labour” from their sources in West Africa, the world’s most important supply. Since then, however, the firms have missed deadlines to eliminate child labour in 2005, 2008 and 2010. Each time, they have promised to do better, but the new report indicates that the incidence of child labour in West African cocoa production has risen.

A Washington Post investigation of the use of child labour in the cocoa industry found that representatives of some of the biggest and best-known brands could not guarantee that any of their chocolate was produced without child labour. One reason is that 20 years after pledging to eradicate the practice, chocolate companies still could not identify the farms where all their cocoa comes from, let alone whether child labour was used in producing it.

Nearly 1.6 million children were engaged in child labour in cocoa production, according to the survey, and most of those were involved in tasks considered hazardous, such as wielding machetes, carrying heavy loads or working with pesticides. Because of changes in methodology, the number of child labourers in the new survey is not comparable with that of the first survey, researchers said. The surveyors defined child labourers as those children working below the age of 12, or children between 12 and 18 years old who work beyond allowable hours, or any children taking part in hazardous tasks.

Industry representatives said that one of the issues is that it is difficult to verify which harvests come from which farms, making enforcement of labour standards problematic, although the Washington Post said nonprofits have found this puzzling, given the large amounts of money constantly flowing into the sector. Large U.S. chocolatiers, said the Post, added that they are responsible for only so much of the chocolate supply, and that 40 percent of cocoa produced is done under the auspices of smaller companies that may not have the same standards as they do. On the continuing prevalence of child labour in the industry, spokespeople suggested that perhaps the initial goals were too lofty.

Several nonprofit groups blame the companies for falling far short of the responsibilities they assumed under their pledge in 2001. They question how an industry that rings up an estimated $103 billion in annual sales could have made so little, if any, progress over 20 years.

31 Oct 2020 Ferado

Nominations are open for the Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Union Rights 2021

We hereby invite unions all over the world to nominate candidates for next year’s award of the Arthur Svensson international prize for trade union rights. Deadline is 1st of January 2021. Since 2010 the Svensson prize has been awarded to persons and organizations that has worked predominately to promote trade union rights and organizing around the world.

Purpose The main purpose of the prize is to promote and strengthen trade unions and trade union rights internationally.

Who are eligible for the prize? The prize is presented to a person or organisation that has worked predominately to promote trade union rights and/or strengthen trade union organizing around the world.

Amongst the previous winners we find leaders and activists of the teachers union in Bahrain, the Miners union in Mexico, textile workers in Cambodia and many more. Last year the Chilean trade union leader, Barbara Figueroa, was awarded the prize.

Previous winners here.

Amount

The prize amount is NOK 500,000 (approx. EUR 52.000 / USD 60.000). Half the amount goes directly to the prize winner and an equal amount will be spent on projects related to the prize winner.

Who can nominate? Representatives and employees of trade unions throughout the world can nominate candidates for the prize.

Nomination requirements

The nomination must include arguments why the candidate deserves the prize. It must also be clear who is making the nomination and the nominator’s relation to the proposed candidate.

Nominations must be completed in one of the following languages: Norwegian, English, French or Spanish.

The nomination deadline is January the 1st 2021, but we encourage to start the nomination process as soon as possible. The nominees will be judged on to what extent the person or organization has promoted union rights and/or union organizing in the world.

For justified nominations please use this form.

Nominations can also be sent with attachments to espen.loken@industrienergi.no.