The World Federation of Trade Unions -WFTU-, which is the militant voice of 92 million workers in 126 countries of the globe, on the occasion of June 12th, World Day Against Child Labor, reaffirms its strong condemnation to this anachronistic and barbaric situation.
The WFTU since its foundation has fought by all its means and resources against all forms of capitalist exploitation, either “disguised” or clearly barbarian. Child labor is one of them, and the constant struggle against it is a matter of principle of our world trade union family, especially since it is a form of exploitation that industrialists and other big businessmen had been taking advantage of since the very beginning of their inhuman and exploitative system: The fortunes of bourgeois were created by the hands and blood of children.
Nowadays, the situation remains tragic since 168 million children are working in various jobs around the world, with the picture in the Asia-Pacific region being dramatic: about 9.3% of the child population is forced to work. With the outbreak of the capitalist crisis and the deepening of intra-imperialist rivalries, the exploitation of children is intensifying even more, always with a view to maximizing the profits of multinationals. Child workers are mainly employed in the sectors of agriculture, fishing and mining, while other children work even as modern-day slaves. In fact, immigrant children often suffer double exploitation, even in regions that were boasting about having eliminated this phenomenon, such as Europe.
Most of the time, these children suffer irreparable psychological, intellectual, social or moral injuries while many of them also fall victims of sexual exploitation. Despite the UN, ILO and other international organizations’ declarations, child labor still occurs at a large scale worldwide.
Once again the WFTU is clearly stating that the struggle for the abolition of child labor it more timely than ever. At the same time, it calls on all trade unions to take action so as to guarantee the rights of children. We call for action for:
a) public, free and compulsory education for the new generation. Abolition of all forms of child labor.
b) ensuring leisure and recreation for children, with a view to the healthy development of their psychological and mental health.
c) healthcare for the satisfaction of contemporary needs of the new generation.
At the same time, as class-oriented international trade union movement, we demand the abolition of the terms that figure in the laws of many countries, concerning “consent” of a child to work. Children’s rights are non-negotiable!
Stop to child labor!
Struggle for the protection of children’s rights!