Note: ToxicsWatch Alliance shares the dream of ‘child labour free world’
12 June 2011 - World Day Against Child Labour: The BWI says develop unionism
“Our mission is to ensure all children have access to education and schooling and to improve the wages of adult workers by strengthening trade unions. Workplace unions are the best guarantee in the fight against child labour”, says Ambet Yuson, general secretary of the BWI. BWI’s multi-pronged approach aims at realising decent work for adults and decent education for children.
BWI and its affiliates are working to stop the exploitation of this cheap labour in the construction, brick kiln, stone quarrying, wood and forestry industries and contributes to ensure decent education for children and decent work for adults. When a child is sent to school the revenue lost is compensated by the wage rises secured by the unions. Unions who gain wage rises have in turn stronger bargaining power thanks to the increase in membership. Yuson adds: “Our strategy also addresses the needs of migrant workers and their families.”
The BWI calls on affiliated unions, national/state governments, employers and communities worldwide to ensure that all children have equal access to quality education and no child is forced to work in any circumstances in any sector or industry, reaffirming the vision of a ‘child labour free world’ – a world where every child has access to school and adults have decent work.
BWI partners are from Germany, The Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, Australia and Canada. Currently 25 schools/preparatory centres for the erstwhile child labourers are mainly run in the South Asia region (India, Nepal and Bangladesh) that is known for the highest number of child labourers in the world. In Thailand too, the BWI has collaborated in the setting-up of a mobile school in a workers community.
The ILO estimates around 115 million child labourers worldwide are trapped in hazardous work and around 200 million children in all continue to remain outside the realm of education. Every year millions of children across the globe are denied their rights as children when they enter the labour force mainly in the unorganised sectors doing a range of unskilled and semi-skilled jobs. On a priority basis, efforts are directed towards elimination of the presence of the problem of child labour in hazardous work i.e. worst forms of child labour by 2016 as envisaged during the Hague Global Child Labour Conference in 2010. Given the magnitude and spread of the problem – multilevel interventions, global support and thrust on education programmes need to continue with the same vigour as at present to adequately address this issue.
The BWI calls upon its affiliates to:
Urge Governments’ to ratify and implement the ILO Convention 138 (Minimum Age of Employment) and 182 (Worst Forms of Child Labour)
Advocate for ILO’s Decent Work Agenda and ensure decent education for children, decent work for adults
Lobby for social security net for informal sector workers including migrant workers
Call upon MNCs and IFIs to ensure that no children are employed directly or indirectly in the production & supply chain
Network with other organizations to extend the outreach of our campaign.
Africa and Asia still account for over 90% of the total global child labour.
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