The Fiji Trade Union Congress (FTUC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) launched a resource guide for trade unions on child labour on 21 November, 2015. The booklet, titled ‘A Trade Union Guide to Eliminating Child Labour in Fiji’ is a practical resource guide to be used by trade union members to assist in the fight against child labour.
Speaking at the launch, Fiji Teachers Union General Secretary Mr. Agni Deo Singh highlighted the guide as a collaborative effort between the FTUC and ILO. Mr. Singh also commended the contributions of the trade union members towards the completion of the guide. “This guide for trade unions has been the realization of work on child labour throughout this year which trade union members have greatly contributed to. It also encompasses the work that the FTUC has been doing in trying to raise awareness on child labour with its members as well as in the community at large. The FTUC has worked on child labour issues with ILO on the Tackling Child Labour through Education (TACKLE) Project since 2008 and we are grateful to the European Union for funding this work. Through that funding, FTUC was able to assist approximately 1,000 children who were involved in or at risk of child labour and we look forward to continuing this work”.
ILO Officer-In-Charge and Specialist on Decent Work Strategies, Mr. Satoshi Sasaki noted that although international targets had been set for the elimination of child labour, this would not be achieved and Mr. Sasaki called for a more concerted effort from all stakeholders to eliminate child labour. He also highlighted the impact that the TACKLE project had in building capacity on combating child labour in Fiji. “In the past few years, Fiji has accumulated considerable child labour expertise and experience (on child labour). The Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations (MEPIR) has established a Child Labour Unit to coordinate and lead action against child labour. The ILO has also collaborated with other government agencies, the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation and NGOs on child labour programmes. The ILO has worked closely with the FTUC to implement child labour programmes in the Western division through the Fiji Teachers Union and has also conducted Child Labour Forums with union members earlier this year. Union members are one of the key partners in assisting to identify and report on children in child labour and they are ideally placed to monitor activities in their workplace as well as their community, raise awareness and take action against child labour.”
“A Trade Union Guide for Eliminating Child Labour in Fiji is launched today, intended for use by union members in all aspects of work on child labour. The guide has practical examples of how you can raise awareness at the community level as well as the national l level and take action against child labour. It also contains the relevant national laws and policies relating to child labour such as the Employment Relations Promulgation, the Child Welfare Decree, the Ministry of Education’s Child Protection Policy and the Crimes Decree. Users can refer to this if they come across instances of child labour.”
In closing his speech, Mr. Sasaki praised the good work being done by the FTUC and union reps in eliminating child labour and reaffirmed ILO’s commitment to provide technical support to the FTUC as required.