Ruwan at child labour conf
Ruwan Subasinghe addresses audience on supply chains

ITF unions pledge to push for fundamental change on child and forced labour

The ITF has told a major International Labour Organization conference in Argentina that child and forced labour were key trade union issues, and that ITF unions would continue to push for change from the bottom up.

Governments, employers’ and workers’ representatives from 193 countries are attending the IV Global Conference on the Sustained Eradication of Child Labour in Buenos Aires, Argentina from 14-16 November.

ITF legal officer Ruwan Subasinghe also addressed the conference panel on supply chains yesterday. He explained that ITF unions would continue to bring about change through organising, supporting victims to hold companies and states to account for these abuses in supply chains, advocacy and campaigning, and social dialogue.

Mr Subasinghe said: “Freedom of association is an enabling right and organising is the most effective tool to tackle forced labour. Where freedom of association is respected and workers can organise, you are less likely to find slavery, child labour or other unacceptable practices.

“Unions have been at the forefront of organising vulnerable groups of workers, including women, migrant, indigenous, and informal sector workers. But there is still so much to do.

“Governments are major actors in global supply chains, and they must guarantee an enabling environment for unions to do their work, including creating a framework for transnational collective bargaining. They must also take co-ordinated action to ensure that forced and child labour does not pay.”

The conference is being held in line with Target 8.7 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda, which calls for the eradication of child labour by 2025. Under the target, leaders committed to ‘take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking…’

Follow the conference on social media using #CLConf17.

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