‘More needs to be done to help eliminate child labour’

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Both South African trade unions and unions abroad agree that more needs to be done to help eliminate child labour.

This as the second day of the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour is under way at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban.

Children in rural areas have been identified by the International Labour Organisation as the most vulnerable to exploitative labour.

Globally, majority of children involved in child labour are in the agricultural sector and many of them are between the ages of five to 11.

Regional Vice-President of the International Organisation of Employers from Kenya, Jacqueline Mugo, says not much has been done to address the root cause of this human rights violation.

“If we fail to address these root causes of child labour in a comprehensive manner, then we will sure not succeed in our fight. These obstacles are not insurmountable but so far, we have not shown the necessary will or pursued the comprehensive actions required to address them. We’re not here in Durban to blame each other,  but we’re here rather to redouble our efforts to work better together. Collective action is key if we want to succeed.”

Meanwhile, regional vice-president of the International Trade Union Confederation, Bheki Ntshalintshali, says the economic crisis and high unemployment will reverse progress made to eradicate child labour.

“The world is richer today than 25 ago, yet 79% of our people are denied the universal social protection. 84% of people say the minimum living wage is not enough to live on and 81% of the countries have allowed violation of the right to collective bargaining. The recent increase in child labour shows that poverty and the inability to absorb economic shock render our households vulnerable to child labour. “
In the video below, Reporter Bongani Gema provides an update on proceedings at the conference: