12 June 2019: World Day Against Child Labour – As 2 million children in West-Africa are currently exploited in the cocoa production, global trade unions in the food supply chain step up their efforts calling on chocolate manufacturers to end child labour in the industry.
EFFAT Cocoa steering committee has campaigned for children in cocoa farming to be safeguarded from all forms of hazardous labour and has produced campaign material reminding chocolate manufacturers that they committed to eradicating child labor in the cocoa production by 2020. After prolongations, the deadline for this will definitively expire: this means only 6 months are left!
On the eve of the International Day, EFFAT and IUF also joined the action organised in Brussels by ACV CSC. Our Belgian affiliates distributed flyers and produced hard copies of children’s ‘fake contracts’ listing all the poor working conditions of children’s employment in the cocoa fields.
Harald Wiedenhofer, EFFAT Secretary General, commented on these initiatives today by saying: ‘There are millions of children that are robbed of their childhood out there. Chocolate manufacturers should step up their efforts and pay decent wages to producers so that rural families are not forced to send their kids to work in the fields under unimaginable unsafe and unhealthy conditions. After the 2010 commitment of chocolate manufacturers to eradicate this phenomenon, very little has been achieved. We expect a much more serious approach to tackle this shame. As consumers can also play a role, we advise them to purchase independently certified chocolate and not rely on the cost of the product as it does not necessarily make it child labour free’.
To mark the World Day Against Child Labour, IUF and EFFAT planned a symbolic action in Brussels to call for an end to child labor as part of trade unions’ wider demand for respect of all fundamental human and labour rights. The action received massive support by trade unions from all over Europe.
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