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Thai Union Joins ILO’s Good Labor Practice Program Thailand, September 20, 13

The world’s leading seafood processor and exporter has announced its joining of the International Labor Organization’s Good Labor Practices (GLP) program. Thai Union Frozen Products (TUF) says that by doing so it is displaying a commitment to improving working conditions in the seafood processing industry.

Thailand exported 559,493 tons of canned tuna and pre-cooked loins in 2012, and TUF is its largest producer. The company’s signing on to the ILO program comes after many accusations have been targeted towards the Thai tuna industry, especially from Spain, which has continually accused Thailand of labor violations and poor working conditions on board Thai fishing vessels.
ANFACO (Spanish Association for Canned Seafood Producers) has repeatedly shown objection to requests for Thailand to enter into a free trade agreement for canned tuna exports to the EU. Poor labor conditions have commonly been the backbone of Spain’s argument.
TUF President, Thiraphong Chansiri said: “TUF already has in place an international code of conduct that regulates our operations and supply chain to adopt and promote good labor practices and refrain from engaging in child labor or forced labor from catch to can.
“We have always been committed to good labor practices. We will continue to take appropriate measures to ensure all labor practices are of an internationally recognized ethical standard.”
Allegations of poor working conditions have come to light even as recently as the Spanish Tuna Conference in Vigo this month. A UK based charity (Environmental Justice Foundation) was invited by ANFACO to present its findings from an investigation into labor violations by the Thai tuna industry. Accusations stretched as far as onboard murder of migrant workers.
However, in becoming a participant of the program, TUF vows to uphold the 10 binding principles of the program and commit to transparency in reporting how its business adheres with globally recognized ethical standards.
Maurizio Bussi, ILO director for Thailand said: “It’s encouraging to see that a Thai-based global brand like TUF openly supports good labor practices and will work with our organization to improve the industry standards in Thailand.”
Thiraphong added: “Living up to our international code of conduct is paramount to our global operations in order to ensure that TUF and our brands in North America and Europe remain a reliable provider of safe and premium quality seafood products, a valuable investment for our shareholders, and a dedicated corporate citizen in our communities and, most importantly, an employer of choice for our global workforce of more than 32,000 people.”