Greenpeace and Thai Union have demonstrated that environmentalists and corporations can commit to working together to protect our oceans and the men and women who work on them.
Transshipment at sea and unmonitored and unregulated fishing practices have led to the abuse of both fishing stocks and the workers who bring those fish to our markets.
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) says it is encouraged by Thai Union’s commitment to improving labour and environmental standards, which will help ensure that suppliers who work in the shadows – illegally fishing and violating workers’ rights – will no longer be part of their supply chain. Through this agreement with Greenpeace, Thai Union has publicly re-affirmed its commitment to supporting freedom of association and collective bargaining throughout its own facilities and global supply chains, for all workers, including migrants.
Johnny Hansen, chair of the ITF fisheries section, said that while this is an important first step, Thai Union’s commitments and progress will be heavily monitored by many – including Greenpeace and the ITF – to ensure real changes occur on the water and in this industry with the implementation of this agreement.
Together with other activists, NGOs and unions around the globe, the ITF will work to ensure that Thai Union honours its pledges to improve conditions for their workers and minimise disruption in its seafood supply chains.
“Developing a strong code of conduct for all vessels in their supply chain, along with enforceable labour standards, is a central component of this agreement. The ITF commits to working alongside Thai Union, and Greenpeace, to ensure that the highest standards of workers’ rights are respected in the seafood supply chain.
“This is an example of the ITF commitment to raising standards for all seafarers regardless of whether they work on a container ship or a fishing vessel. For far too long fishers have been an invisible part of the workforce, and this agreement recognises that all suppliers in the seafood supply chain should adhere to an ethical code of conduct.
“In an industry that has been characterised by high levels of exploitation, labour and human rights abuses and an absence of basic workplace rights, this agreement between Thai Union and Greenpeace is a recognition that the overall sustainability of the industry includes not only better fishing practices but a commitment to improve the treatment of its workforce, and ensure its suppliers do the same. Ultimately, the ITF wants to see enforceable collective bargaining agreements that protect the rights of fishers, vessel crews, and all workers throughout the supply chain.
“The ITF is committed to monitoring the implementation of this agreement to ensure that it delivers real change for fishers, and will to continue to campaign against other seafood companies who do not enforce high labour standards throughout their supply chain,” Mr Hansen said.