The Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, has taken measures to prevent and eliminate child labour, forced labour, slave labour and illegal migrant workers in shrimp and seafood industry of Thailand. The fishery industries have played a vital role to Thailands economy, with the annual export value at 270,000 million baht and over one million workers throughout the industrys production chain.
Responding to the concept of decent work, Good Labour Practices (GLP) guidelines for seafood processing factories and primary processing workplaces were developed. The guidelines encompass Core Labour Standards; Forced Labour, Child Labour, Freedom of Association, Collective Bargaining and Workplace Cooperation and Discrimination (Equal Employment Opportunities and Treatment). Whilst working conditions herein covers Work Contracts, Wages, Compensation and Work Time, Occupational Safety and Health, and Work Environment and Worker Welfare.
Following the guidelines, the department has created the campaigns to raise awareness and to adjust attitude among operators/entrepreneurs towards treatment of employees which will benefit to both Thai and migrant workers. Should operators/entrepreneurs follow the guidelines properly; the industries will be free from labour issues and unsafe working environments and human trafficking will also be completely eliminated.
In terms of raising GLP awareness, the department has organised a training workshops for operators/entrepreneurs on Good Labour Practices for Seafood Processing Factories and Primary Processing Workplaces. The training course comprised lectures and team learning activities. In fiscal year 2015, the department trained 56 participants from 52 primary seafood primary processing workplaces and 97 participants from 59 seafood processing factories, located in Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Prakan, Ratchaburi, Ranong, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Chumphon, and Phuket provinces. In fiscal year 2016, during November-December 2015, four GLP workshops were conducted, with 23 participants from 15 primary seafood primary processing workplaces and 135 participants from 75 seafood processing factories, located in Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Prakan, Ratchaburi, Chachoengsao, Chon Buri, and Rayong, joined in these 4 workshops.
Besides knowledge, the training programme raises awareness and enables effective implementation of the GLP guidelines in the industries. The campaign aims to have operators willingly embrace the GLP guidelines in order to prevent malpractices and to sustainably promote decent working conditions in the industries. This will lead to a positive impact on the quality of fishery products from Thailand and reassure consumers that they are ethically produced in compliance with the proper labour standards.