Video - Tackling Child Labour during Covid-19

25 Sep 2020

Refugee camp

Today, 25th September, Congress held a briefing on child labour.  Today also marks the 5th anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals so it was very appropriate that we did so as one of the targets under Goal 8 on decent work is to introduce immediate and effective measures to secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour

Despite great progress in recent years, including universal ratification of ILO Convention 182 on the worst forms of child labour, there are 152 million children working today (down from about 250 m) and there is a risk of reversing this progress due to Covid 19.

Chaired by Rhona McCord of UNITE, we heard from Tim Noonan (ITUC) and Tim Ryan (Global March against Child Labour - presentation availble here). A recording of the event is available to view below.

Among the questions and issues raised were:

How can we use business and human rights mechanisms to hold businesses to account regarding violations of C182 in their global supply chains?

“Internationally, one area we are progressing is through the Centre for Sport and Human Rights. The Centre's mission is to realise the “Sporting Chance Principles" which are based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the fundamental human rights instruments including ILO standards.

The importance of mandatory human rights due diligence (MHRDD) was also stressed - Companies own policies / codes of conduct not enough as they often fall back on the lowest common denominator, local law etc.. It will also help us to get away from the plausible deniability culture to a more useful one of responsibility for one’s business activities.

Congress is part of the Irish Coalition on Business and Human Rights which will be launching a paper on MHRDD in November.

In the aftermath of the universal ratification of C182 what actions can Irish trade unions take now on combating child labour?

The UN General Assembly has urged the international community to step up efforts to eradicate forced labour and child labour, and declared 2021 as the Year for the Elimination of Child Labour. Global March and ITUC are in discussions about how best we use the year and we in ICTU will be an active participant in agreed activities.

Alliance 8.7 pathfinder countries – more info here

If you want to contribute to Global March's crowdfunding campaign for their grassroots partner in Pakistan who are working with street children vulnerable gypsy community – a campaign to educate and protect 100 street children from COVID-19, you can do so here

Briefing on Child Labour-20200925 1203-1 from Irish Congress of Trade Unions on Vimeo.