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Fishers demand their own labour convention

5 August 2006

Renewed efforts will be made to secure an International Labour Organisation convention covering fishers along the lines of the ILO’s new Maritime Labour Convention.

Successive speakers at the Fisheries Section Conference deplored the failure of the ILO – by just one vote – to adopt such a convention in 2005.

Delegates stressed the need to ensure that a convention setting minimum labour standards would be adopted in 2007 at the ILO’s next international labour conference.

Section Chair Peter Sand Mortensen (Denmark) blamed the disappointment of 2005 on “bad preparation by the employers and the fact that their secretariat knew nothing about fisheries”.

He went on to underline the importance of obtaining a comprehensive fisheries labour standard. “Fishers have virtually no rights and are often not treated like human beings.”

Hanafi Rustandi (KPI, Indonesia) pointed out that work in the fisheries sector was the most dangerous of occupations.

“It’s a matter of life and death,” he said. “Yet most governments, including Indonesia, are only interested in making as much money as possible through illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.”

Speakers at the conference placed emphasis on the need to unionise unorganised fishers, building on several initiatives already taken.

In addition, the political campaign against illegal and unregulated fishing – for which flag of convenience vessels are largely responsible – would continue to be pursued by the ITF in international regulatory organisations and agencies.




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