by Mr. Samuel J. Goolsarran, Consultant Adviser (Ex. Dir.), The Consultative Association of Guyanese Industry Ltd
The Consultative Association of Guyanese Industry Ltd. (CAGI), which is an Organization of Employers since 1962, is committed on its own, and to join with other organizations, institutions, and agencies in the national and global efforts to support fully measures designed to combat Child labour, and to promote the welfare of Children through education and effective social protection measures. CAGI is pleased to send this message on the occasion of the observance of World Day Against Child Labour 12 June 2014 with the theme - Extend Social Protection: Combat Child Labour.
CAGI affirms that Child Labour is defined as children's work which is of such a nature or intensity that it is detrimental to their schooling or harmful to their health and development. The concern is with children who:
- are denied their childhood and a future,
- who work at too young an age,
- who work for long hours for low wages,
- who work under conditions harmful to their health and to their physical and mental development,
- who are separated from their families,
- who are deprived of education, or
- who are without social protection.
Such a situation impacting on the child can create irreversible damage to the child and is in violation of international law and national law, and every national effort must be taken to put effective, time-bound, and implementable measures to extend social protection to our children in the fight against child labour.
The two International Labour Conventions of the UN-ILO, which have been ratified by Guyana, place a binding obligation on Government and its agencies, and the social partners represented by the Employers and Trade Unions to bring the laws and practice in line these Conventions. The Conventions deal with:
- the minimum age for employment to be not less than the age of completion of compulsory education (normally not under 15 years) - Convention 138, 1973; and
- the Worst Forms of Child Labour, applicable to all persons under 18 years of age, and requires ratifying states to take effective and immediate measures to prohibit and eliminate as a matter of urgency the worst forms of child labour – Convention 182, 1999.
Need for Collective National Action
Child labour is a scourge on society, denying childhood which should be dedicated to education and development, jeopardizing the children's potential of becoming productive adults for community life, and put at risk a country's long term productivity by denying education to the future workforce. This presents a challenge to progressively reduce child labour wherever it exists and in whatever form. This can be achieved with national determination and parliamentary political will, and with the support of labour and school inspectorates, social services, and the cooperation of employers and law enforcement agencies.
There is therefore the need for the national system to provide for strong, well trained and adequately staffed labour and school inspectorates with the financial and material means to enable them to discharge their advisory, technical, promotional, and enforcement work effectively. Indeed, it is the individual and joint responsibility of the governments, and the social partners - employers' and workers' organizations, Churches, religious organizations, political parties, and civil society to address the problems of child labour through education, social protection, and effective enforcement measures to combat Child Labour in the national community.
CAGI will continue to be an active advocate against Child Labour and for children to be at school and for national proactive social protection measures for our children.
All together against child labour.