• March 2, 2024

Labor issues won’t go away

 Labor issues won’t go away

Workers carry tobacco leaves to the curing barn on a plantation belonging to one of Cuba’s many co-operatives. Picture: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

The tobacco industry is being challenged over claims that it is committed to the future of tobacco-growing communities.
In a piece in the Manila Times, Tih Ntiabang, the Framework Convention Alliance’s regional co-ordinator for Africa, said that last week the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) governing body had ‘postponed yet again a decision to stop accepting money from the tobacco industry for its projects to end child labor in the tobacco growing sector’.
‘A majority of countries and workers in the governing body want to finally break financial ties with the tobacco industry,’ he said. ‘However, there is still opposition from the employers group and a few countries, mostly in the African region.’
Later in his piece, he said that ending child labor in tobacco growing could be achieved without accepting money from the tobacco industry. ‘The ILO governing body should embrace the proposed integrated strategy which would mobilize international development partners instead of relying mainly on funds from an industry whose products kill seven million people each year,’ he said.
‘Last week, more than 200 public health and sustainable development organizations called on the ILO’s governing body to institute “the strongest possible policies to prohibit co-operation and public-private partnerships with the tobacco industry”.
‘While the ILO governing body keeps deferring its decision, the tobacco industry and organizations it funds are ramping up publicity that they are committed to the future of tobacco growing communities. The reality is rather different.
‘The ILO partnerships with the tobacco industry provide limited results, which do not address the root causes of child labor. Tobacco farm workers remain trapped in labor exploitation, poverty and illness despite the claims of the industry, which benefits the most from an extremely harmful but highly profitable business.’
Tih’s piece is at: http://www.manilatimes.net/ilo-fails-to-cut-ties-with-tobacco-industry-yet-again/388402/