International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) Resolution on Child Labor

Noting that in the industries of the IUF jurisdiction, exploitative and hazardous forms of child labour exist.

Noting that child labour is principally the result of extreme poverty which results from the policies imposed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, from societies which refuse to equitably distribute their wealth and from on governments which increasingly privatise all sectors, notably education, which deprives a good number of children from access to schooling and obliges them to work to contribute financially to their families.

Stressing that the main cause of child labour is extreme poverty and societies which fail to distribute wealth fairly.

Recognising that there remains a lack of understanding of the hazardous and damaging consequences of child labour among governments, employers, trade unions, the public and the parents in many countries.

Noting that child labour inhibits education and social mobility, and that child labour therefore harms not only the future of the children directly concerned but also the future of society itself.

Recognising that the solution to the problem of child labour lies in general socio-economic development and the achievement of a fair distribution of profit and wealth in society, and noting that this should be a primary objective of trade unions everywhere;

Affirming therefore that continued strengthening of the labour movement is a pre-condition for the elimination of child labour;

The IUF 23rd World Congress, meeting on 15-18 April 1997 in Geneva:

Declares that child labour is a key area for union activity and that a strong labour movement nationally and internationally is essential to tackle this issue;

Declares that the elimination all forms of child labour is the IUF’s goal;

Condemns the commercial sexual exploitation of children as well as their use in the production and trafficking of drugs and in other illicit activities;

Calls upon all IUF affiliates to take the following action:

  • continue their general organising work to strengthen the labour movement locally and nationally, because this remains an essential pre-condition for the elimination of all forms of social deprivation, including child labour;

  • identify areas where children are at risk;

  • urge their governments to intensify efforts aimed at the elimination of child labour by enacting appropriate legislation, ratifying relevant ILO conventions, and providing free and appropriate education;

  • obtain clear commitments from employers not to use child labour and not to source from operations which themselves use child labour;

Instructs the IUF general and regional secretariats to:

  • serve as an information clearing houses on this issue;

  • support initiatives of those affiliates active in the area of child labour;

  • raise awareness of child labour through IUF education programmes and publications;

  • work with other ITSs, the ICFTU, NGOs and others working towards similar objectives in relation to child labour;

Further instructs the IUF general secretariat to take an active role at the ILO Conferences aimed at standard setting in this area due to start in 1998.


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