Thailand’s ratification of C188 was welcomed as an important step towards eliminating labour abuses in a supply chain that had been exposed for systematic illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices, and pervasive labour and human rights abuses.
Specifically, Thailand entered ILO's Work in Fishing Convention on December 29, 2019, following many campaigns from the ITF. Thailand was also marked as the first Asian country to ratify the Convention.
As Johnny Hansen, ITF Fisheries Section chair added
Until Conventions C87, C98 and C188 are ratified, legislated into national law, implemented and effectively enforced, fishers will remain vulnerable to abuse, including forced labour.
Despite Thailand's entrance in the convention, the government has to yet implement and enforce the provisions of the Convention that protect fishers’ rights on board vessels, including binding requirements on occupational safety and health, medical care at sea and ashore, rest periods, written work agreements, and social security protection.
Following a meeting in Oslo, ITF Fisheries Section Committee urged Thai government to place stronger inspection and enforcement provisions, in order to protect decent working and living conditions for fishers on fishing vessels.
In addition, the Committee also highlighted that Thai Government should allow migrant workers join and form their own democratic trade unions and take further steps to ratify ILO Conventions 87 and 98 on freedom of association and collective bargaining, which are essential to protecting all workers, including migrants, in Thailand.
Johnny Hansen commented
All workers, regardless of where they come from or what immigration status they have, should have the right to form unions and collectively bargain. The right to form unions is an enabling right that makes it possible to promote and realise decent conditions at work in the fishing sector.
Concluding, in the possibility that the above measures are taken into account and implemented, fishing companies will respect workers' rights on asking for their wages, benefits and working conditions, and implement changes throughout their supply chains in line with the labour and environmental standards that consumers and markets demand.