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India: ITUC To Organise Conference On Child Labour

India: International Trade Union Movement to organise an international conference on Child labour

Brussels, 20 February 2008 (ITUC Online): The international trade union movement, through the Council of Global Unions, is holding a major international trade union conference for child rights organisers and campaigners on 21and 22 February in New Delhi. The Conference, to be opened by Oscar Fernandez, Minister of Labour, will address important issues including the role of trade unions in the elimination of child labour or the development of strategies to ensure all children take part in quality education. Prior to the Conference, participants will visit education projects for former child labourers run by Indian trade unions and supported by the Building and Wood Workers’ International, the key organiser of the meeting.

The conference brings together key political, trade union and social figures from India and other Asian countries, along with representatives from the regional and international trade union movement. The Conference will deal with developing and implementing political and trade union strategies regarding child labour, recognition of trade unions as partners for sector-based child labour eradication programs, and reinforcing international trade union cooperation, including with other civil society organisations, on child labour

Child Labour is a pervasive problem throughout the world, especially in developing countries. Africa and Asia together account for over 90 percent of total child employment. According the International Labour Organization (ILO) 246 million children are engaged in child labour throughout the world while India has the highest number of child workers.

Trade unions have historically led the fight against the exploitation of children, through direct action to stop exploitation of children and ensure decent wages and working conditions for adults, thus reducing the likelihood that children will end up working. At the international level, unions have played a central role in the development of International Labour Organisation Conventions on the issue, as well as campaigning for governments to ratify and implement these standards. Unions are also heavily involved in international and national action to ensure Education for All.

“Tens of millions of children at work instead of at school” said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder. “Governments must show the political will to invest in quality education for all children, and make sure that child labour laws are strong and are fully implemented”, he added.

The ITUC represents 168 million workers in 155 countries and territories and has 311 national affiliates. Website: http://www.ituc-csi.org

ENDS

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