24th March 2016, Bangkok, Thailand: Thai Union Group PCL (TU) has welcomed a new project launched jointly by the Ministry of Labor, International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Delegation of the European Union to Thailand on “Combatting Unacceptable Forms of Work in the Thai Fishing and Seafood Industry”.
The project will work to tackle unacceptable forms of work, especially forced labor and child labor in the fishing and seafood processing industry.
“Thai Union is pleased to welcome this initiative,” said Dr. Darian McBain, Global Director for Sustainable Development.
“Thai Union firmly believes that public and private sector collaboration is the key to drive positive change and tackle unfair and unethical labor practices in both the Thai and global fishing industries. There is no place for these practices in the Thai fishing and seafood industries. Involvement from international institutions not only helps industry participants understand the importance of change in these critical areas, but also helps validate the progress which is achieved. Additionally, we are pleased to see that NGOs will also be involved in this initiative and help contribute to the progress of change. This has been the experience of Thai Union, who have been working with NGOs such as the Migrant Workers Rights Network; the Labor Rights Promotion Network (LPN) and the Issara Institute for some time as we look for ways to effectively tackle these issues in the industry.”
Those present for the launch of the initiative included Thai Union management Ms. Attapan Masrungson and Global Director for Sustainable Development, Dr. Darian McBain.
Dr. McBain said the need to eradicate forced labor, human trafficking and child labor was a key factor driving the introduction of Thai Union’s new and stringent Business Ethics and Labor Code of Conduct last year.
The Code of Conduct prohibits all forms of forced and child labor; and outlines the mandatory legal and ethical requirements for conducting business with Thai Union. Thai Union is a member of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and the Good Labor Practices program with the ILO.
In the last 18 months the company has terminated relationships with 17 suppliers due to forced labor or human trafficking violations and reduced the number of Thai vessels it works with from over 2,000 to around 400 to provide much better visibility and control of labor conditions and compliance with IUU regulations. Thai Union has also implemented an extensive program of auditing, from vessels to factories, to ensure the safe and legal employment of workers within its own operations and those of its suppliers.