Thailand: chicken sector to boost standards following abuse claims
Thailand’s Department of Labour Protection and Welfare (DLPW), the Department of Livestock Development (DLD) alongside the TBA have signed an agreement to eliminate human rights abuses in the chicken processing sector.
In August, GlobalMeatNews reported that migrant staff at an unnamed poultry farm suffered terrible mistreatment. Two workers claimed they were forced to work 22-hour shifts and had their passports confiscated to stop them leaving the business. This led a leading migrant rights activist to claim chicken importers risked “polluting their supply chains” by relying on Thai producers accused of mistreating staff.
In light of these revelations, the director-general of the DLPW, Pannee Sriyudhsak, said reports of abuse damaged the reputation of Thailand’s chicken export enterprise. As such, the three parties have all agreed to work together to improve workplace standards, and thus improve the reputation of Thai chicken exports.
No child labour
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) sets out standards to uphold, including: no child labour, no forced labour, no human trafficking and a zero policy on workplace discrimination.
Dr Ayuth Harintharanon, director general of the DLD, said his department has “regularly monitored poultry farms and poultry businesses operators”. If alleged workplace abuse is reported or detected, action is taken immediately by the relevant agencies, he said.
Action that could be taken includes farms having their GAP (Good Agricultural Practice) certificate revoked. The business could even lose the right to export and sell chicken domestically if the business is found to seriously violate labour laws.
Cargill and BRF sign up
“The joint collaboration, through the signing of this MOU today, proves to be the guarantee of our industry standard that we strongly refuse to use child labour and forced labour in respect to Thai labour laws and international labour law,” said Dr Anan Sirimongkolkasem, president of the TBA.
“To export internationally, each establishment must be strictly monitored and inspected by trading partner countries to ensure ethical practices [are adhered to] and customer requirements are strictly followed.”
Some of the TBA members who jointly singed up to the agreement include CPF, Betagro, Cargill, BRF, Thai Foods Group and a raft of other international chicken firms with operations in Thailand.
Thai poultry exports generated more than 80m Thai baht ($2.3m) in 2015.