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Why changing the tuna industry means stopping labour abuse
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Why changing the tuna industry means stopping labour abuse

Blogpost by Jackie Dragon - 20 October, 2015 at 10:30 Add comment

The same unbridled economic interests that are driving destruction in our oceans are also allowing horrific labour practices and human rights abuses of workers in the seafood industry.

Fishermen Sleep Onboard a Taiwanese Longliner in Samoa. 19 Aug, 2015 © Paul Hilton / Greenpeace

This week, powerful allies joined forces to call on the world's largest producer of canned tuna – Thai Union Group – and its largest US brand – Chicken of the Sea – to eradicate destructive fishing practices and forced labour from their supply chains.

Three US unions have released a statement of solidarity with Greenpeace's campaign to reform the tuna industry. Household names in the United States synonymous with worker rights, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represent nearly 5 million workers collectively.

In a press release, Marc Perrone, international president of the UFCW, said, "We join with Greenpeace and other allies calling on Thai Union to end destructive fishing while respecting the labour and human rights of all those employed within its supply chain, and we shall stand with Greenpeace and all those workers affected until the company's practices have been rectified."

Thai Union is considered a keystone company for its disproportionately large impact on marine ecosystems and has also been linked to the darkest sides of the seafood industry. Reports in the New York Times, the Guardian and the Associated Press have exposed a dark and shameful story of labour abuse at sea that can be traced all the way to the canned tuna on US supermarket shelves.

Exploited Workers, Empty Oceans

Investigations have revealed fishing vessels crewed by victims of human trafficking. Often poor migrant workers desperate for work, they find themselves duped and effectively imprisoned on rusty fishing vessels for up to three years without returning to land. Fishermen are forced to work for up to 22 hours a day in deplorable conditions. Salaries promised do not materialise; some are beaten or fined for slowing down or falling asleep, or even killed for refusing to work. A UN study suggests that up to 60 percent of human trafficking victims have witnessed a murder by boat captains.

Captains with no regard for human and labour rights are also, unsurprisingly, those using destructive industrial practices that are emptying our oceans, often in blatant breach of environmental laws. They indiscriminately kill and waste tons of marine life, well beyond the tuna they will send to market. By staying out at sea for months to years, transferring catches, supplies and even crews across shadowy barges far from port inspectors' views, they can hide both illegal fishing and labour abuse.

Closing the False Divide Between Social and Environmental Justice

The solidarity statement signed by these unions recognises the deep ties between social justice and environmental issues and acknowledges that the same solutions needed to safeguard ocean resources can also protect workers. They refuse to allow corporate interests driven by short-term profits to continue to divide the labour and environmental movements by painting issues like this disingenuously as tradeoff between jobs and protecting the planet.

Instead, the unions are standing with Greenpeace, calling for Thai Union to: clean up its supply chains, become fully transparent, ensure workers the freedom of association and the right to join unions, require improved fishing practices and stop relying on overfishing and exploited labour to make short term profits.

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Beer and More To Your Door - Liquor Delivery Victoria - Restaurant Delivery Victoria
Victoria BC Restaurant Delivery Guide
Victoria Liquor Store Directory - Victoria BC
Attractions In Victoria BC
Registration - Liquor Delivery Discounts & E-mail Liquor Discount Coupons
Contact Liquor Delivery Victoria BC
Grocery Delivery Victoria BC
Order Online - Liquor Delivery - Restaurant Delivery - Grocery Delivery
Maude Hunters Express Lunch Delivery
Restaurant Delivery Victoria Online Order Page
Best places to eat/restaurants in Victoria BC
Victoria BC History & Facts
guestbook online
Top 10 Victoria BC Attractions And Shopping Guide
Victoria Nightlife Clubs Pubs & Bars
Victoria Nightlife Clubs Pubs & Bars Page 2
Victoria Nightlife Clubs Pubs & Bars Page 3
Liquor Delivery Victoria Video Page
VICTORIA COMMUNITY FREE BOARD - LIST EVENTS - BUY/SELL - JOBS - CLASSIFIEDS -
PARKS IN VICTORIA BC - WHERE TO CHILL OR MEET UP WITH FRIENDS
Vancouver Island Local Beers - Beers local to Victoria & Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island Local Beers - Beers local to Victoria & Vancouver Island PAGE 2
Vancouver Island Local Brew Page 3
Vancouver Island Local Beers, page 4
Vancouver Island Local Brewers page 5
ALL Vancouver Island Winerys, Beer tours for him, and wine tastings for her :)
Flower and Flowers In Victoria, florist shops for flower delivery victoria bc
2015 Music Festivals BC
Baby Delivery - moms guide
SHOP TOP SELLING PRODUCTS IN WORLD
Bargain Shop Till You Drop
GLOBAL WARMING, OCEAN ACIDIFICATION, NUCLEAR FALLOUT