IUFUniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide
June 12, 2007: World Day Against Child Labour In Agriculture Posted to the IUF website 11-May-2007 Share this article.
June 12 has been designated the World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL) since 2003. This year, in recognition of the fact that little or no progress has been made in eliminating child labour in agriculture, the sector accounting for the largest share of child workers, agriculture is the focus of the World Day. Last year's International Labour Conference concluded that, in the words of the ILO, "Unless a concerted effort is applied to reducing child labour in agriculture, it will be impossible to achieve the ILO goal of elimination of all worst forms of child labour by 2016."
Over 132 million children aged 5 to 14 work in agriculture - up to 70 per cent of all working children. These child workers are exposed to dangerous work and toxic pesticides, work long hours, sometimes in extreme temperature, and can end trapped in forced or bonded labour. Work generally ends their schooling.
The IUF has always emphasized that adult poverty is the root cause of child labour. Action to improve the living and working conditions of adult workers in agriculture is therefore key to the elimination of child labour, which means enforcing employment rights and strengthening the position of trade unions in the sector. Ensuring full rights for the migrant workers who play a central role in global agriculture is also vital.
This year, the IUF is working with the ILO and other UN agencies and international organizations to support the World Day of Action Against Child Labour in agriculture and its follow-up. On the website of the ILO you can find information and materials on agriculture and WDACL 2007.
The 25th IUF Congress called on affiliates to support the WDACL by taking action at national level. Unions around the world can support the WDACL by
- Calling on employers with whom they have collective bargaining relationships to commit to work with trade unions at national and international level to eliminate child labour along their supply chains. Given the weight of child labour in the sector, few processed food products can confidently be confirmed to be child labour-free
- Calling on their Ministry of Labour or other appropriate government agency to facilitate, as a matter of urgency, ratification and implementation of ILO Convention No.182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, Convention No. 138 on Minimum Age and Convention No. 184 on Safety and Health in Agriculture.
The secretariat will be regularly updating the IUF website with relevant information on activities around the WDACL.