World Day Against Child Labour 2024: Urgent action to end child labour

World Day Against Child Labour 2024: Urgent action to end child labour  International Trade Union Confederation

World Day Against Child Labour 2024: Urgent action to end child labour

World Must Accelerate Efforts to End Child Labour, Says ITUC

ITUC General Secretary Luc Triangle emphasized the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in addressing child labour. He stated that the world has committed to ending child labour by 2025, as outlined in SDG Target 8.7. However, there are still 160 million children engaged in work today. Triangle called on governments to increase their efforts in tackling poverty and social injustice, and to take immediate rights-based action as outlined in the Durban Call to Action. He also highlighted the valuable work done by trade unions in this regard.

Examples of Trade Union Efforts to Combat Child Labour

  • Trades Union Congress Ghana affiliate, the General Agriculture Workers’ Union, introduced a child labour clause in collective agreements, campaigned for the right to education for children, and advocated for an area-based approach to end child labour with support from the Global March Against Child Labour.
  • In Bangladesh, with support from ITUC-Asia Pacific, unions joined efforts to accelerate the elimination of child labour by organizing workers and rescue missions, advocating for stricter regulations, and effective enforcement.
  • The AFL-CIO renewed its call for strong laws to prevent child labour abuse and hold employers accountable for exploiting immigrant children in dangerous workplaces around the USA. They also emphasized the need for increased penalties.
  • In the Netherlands, the CNV and the FNV actively work towards eliminating child labour in supply chains through agreements with Dutch companies on international responsible business conduct. Their affiliates also support trade unions in Asia and Africa to establish child labour-free zones.

Triangle reiterated that as long as workers struggle for decent wages and social protection, child labour will persist. He emphasized the need for a New Social Contract for decent work, which would enable parents to earn a good living and children to receive education. Triangle stressed the importance of democracy in workplaces and beyond, ensuring that workers always have a say in decision-making processes.

Ending corporate greed is identified as a crucial step in eradicating child labour. Triangle called for the enforcement of due diligence in global supply chains and holding businesses accountable for their exploitation of workers and children, particularly in the agricultural sector where over 70% of child labour occurs.

Triangle urged all nations to improve their implementation of ILO Convention 182 on the worst forms of child labour and called for the ratification of Convention 138 on Minimum Age by the 11 governments that have not yet done so.

Furthermore, governments should utilize the Pact for the Future, which will be adopted during the SDG Summit of the Future in September 2024, to intensify efforts in eradicating forced labour, ending modern slavery and human trafficking, and eliminating all forms of child labour.

To commemorate the World Day Against Child Labour, a high-level event will be held at the International Labour Conference, which can be watched online here.

The Global March Against Child Labour is organizing an event on June 20 to showcase its area-based approach. Details on how to join the event online are available here.