“June 12th – World Day against Child Labour- A day of reflection” – Anthony

This year on June 12th, the FTUC again calls for the elimination of child labour in Fiji and supports initiatives to report any such violations where children are exploited.

‘In recent times we have seen that poverty  has spiraled upwards and families are left with no options but to  let children do odd jobs and bring income for the family ” , National Secretary, Felix Anthony said.  He mentioned that despite many systems to retain children in school,  around 1157  students dropped out of school from 2016 to 2017.   “This shows that we are not taking seriously  the issue of basic and compulsory education for our children and that enough has not been done by the stakeholders, in particular the Ministry of Education to curb this drop-out”.  Education receives one of the biggest budget allocations and this year  the Ministry received a budget cut.  “How are we then addressing this issue? What are the priorities of the decision-makers?”

Fiji has aptly ratified the ILO Convention 138 on Minimum Age  which prohibits employment of children  under the age of 15  and ILO Convention 182 on Worst Forms of Child Labour, defining which the circumstances in children should  not be employed at all such as slavery, prostitution and drug trafficking.  We are well aware of what the situation is Fiji is regarding these extreme  areas of exploitation.

  In 2015, the Fiji Trade Union Congress (FTUC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) launched a resource guide for trade unions on child labour 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.  FTUC was also part of the ” Tackling Child Labour Through Education” TACKLE project whereby we were able to assist parents and children to pay school fees,  receive stationery and uniforms, provide counselling to parents and develop a network of parents- teachers as focal points to be vigilant on potential school drop-outs.

As part of our ongoing work to address child employment, the FTUC aims to conduct a training for its members  who work with children   or are in involved in workplace negotiations.   The training will be held in Nadi on June 28th & 29th  as a skills  workshop where members will develop strategies to curb the incidence of child employment in Fiji.

We call upon  policy makers to take it seriously to protect and promote  children in getting educated and take urgent actions against any employer who employs children.   June 12th is a day of reflection of on whether  our societies and systems are adequate to address child labour or more still needs to be done.