Child labour perpetuates poverty. Working children
are forced to forgo education, and inevitably grow up to be unskilled
adults trapped in poorly-paid jobs. In addition to the human costs,
employers are increasingly aware of the long-term negative impact
it has on economic development. As a result, employers and their
organizations in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America have joined
forces with the IPEC to combat child labour.
Role of employers' organizations
In 1998, IPEC, ACTEMP (the ILO Bureau for Employers'
activities) and IOE (the International Organization for Employers)
cooperated to produce a guide for employers taking action against
child labour, called "A guide for taking action".
The Handbook identifies ten steps to enhance employer
action on child labour:
1. Institutional development: designate officials
in employers' organizations to serve as child labour focal points
2. Investigation: collect detailed and reliable country data
3. Awareness raising: conduct awareness raising events
4. Policy development: develop policy recommendations on child labour
5. Coalition building: form partnerships to carry out direct action
6. Action prioritization: select areas in which programmes can be
7. Direct support to working children: develop alternatives for
working children, such as apprenticeships, education and training
8. Monitoring and evaluation: establish systematic processes to
work with focal points in specific industries to measure progress
9. Best practices information compilation: compile successful initiatives
undertaken in combating child labour
10. Communications policy: develop a systematic approach to promoting
positive action taken by employers
Areas of action
· Awareness raising and policy development
· Action to prevent child labour in specific sectors
· Direct support for removal and rehabilitation of child
· Corporate and industry codes of conduct of child labour
· Certification schemes for specific goods (which is not
produced by child labour)
Two successful examples that have involved IPEC
and employers' organizations in direct support for removal and rehabilitation
have been in Bangladesh and Pakistan.
The BGMEA/ILO/UNICEF Child Labour project - a world-first
in which an entire industry has pledged to free its workplace of
child labour - has become a replicable model and is already being
applied in other countries and other industries.
Between 1995, when the project was launched, and
end-1998, the number of textile factories employing children was
reduced from nearly 45 per cent to 2.5 per cent of the total. The
actual number of children employed has been reduced from nearly
10.000 in 1995 to around 1500.
Employers in Indonesia
In 1995 IPEC supported a programme with the Indonesian
Employers' Association (APINDO). APINDO
is the only officially recognized employers' organization in Indonesia
to deal with industrial relations and Human Resource Development
issues. It is a huge organization with approximately 5000 members
in all parts of Indonesia. The objective of the programme was to
raise awareness amongst members of the employers' organization through
workshops and seminars. Employers however usually do not regard
child labour as a problem and often affirm they only allow children
in the workplace, because they parents, their workers, request so.
Now in the year 2000 IPEC supports again a programme with APINDO.
APINDO indicated themselves they want to set up a code of conduct
for their members. Again a lot of awareness raising will be done
under this project.