ITUC-Africa seeks partnership to end child labour

The African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa) has expressed her readiness to collaborate with relevant organisations to end the scourge of child labour in Africa.

In a statement to commemorate this year’s World Day Against Child Labour, general secretary of ITUC-Africa, Kwasi Adu-Amankwah, said Africans must act now to right against such practice in the region.

Speaking on the theme ” Act now: End child labour” , the general secretary said there was an urgent call for actions to defeat child labour everywhere.

He said: “As organised labour, we affirm our stance and resolve against child labour. We are committed to ensuring that children will be in schools, classrooms and playgrounds and not in factories, farms, sweatshops, brothels and on the streets.

“We pledge to continue to work with all relevant stakeholders to engineer and deploy practical and responsive measures to tackle and defeat child labour. More than ever before, we shall scale up our advocacy for youth, women and adult decent employment creation.

“We shall remain steadfast in the campaign for minimum living wages. We have seen clear links between adult unemployment and poor wages with growing child labour practices. More often than not, parents without decent jobs and incomes, readily recruit their children as additional hands to shore up household incomes.

“Further, organised labour in Africa will not relent in organising workplaces. Pieces of evidence abound to show that workplaces that are organised are rid of child labour. To this end, therefore, we shall focus attention and energy on organising, including workers in the informal economy.

” We stand ready to engage other social partners to design and implement workable initiatives aimed at formalising the informal economy.

Recent report published by the International Labour Organization (ILO) shows, worryingly, that child labour now stands at 160 million children worldwide.

“More worrisome is the fact that Africa has witnessed an additional 16.6 million children in child labor over the past four years.No doubt, the global health and economic crises brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, coupled with preexisting conditions of extreme poverty, violent conflicts and weak and inadequate social protection measures are exacerbating the incidence of child labour.”

“We urge all stakeholders not to merely lament, rather, we call on them, especially governments to lead in the efforts to assure the right of children to live a free and safe childhood. COVID-19 has woken up the world to the realisation of prioritising and advancing health care as a human right. We welcome and concur with the affirmation of this right by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“As part of the pragmatic measures to reining in child labour, ITUC-Africa supports the call being made by the ILO and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for adequate social protection, including universal child benefits; increased spending on quality education.

“We are confident that Africa can mobilise the resources to finance social spending if efforts are developed and sustained to halt Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) and tame corruption and assets looting.

Finally, ITUC-Africa calls on governments across Africa and the world to consciously and deliberately tackle root causes of child labour. We assure them of our readiness to support and work with them in achieving this,” the group further added.