Thai chicken farmers stamp out slavery and abuse

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

CP Foods will cut ties with meat suppliers involved in human trafficking or child labour
CP Foods will cut ties with meat suppliers involved in human trafficking or child labour

Related tags Cp foods Poultry

Over 400 poultry farmers supplying Thai chicken exporter CP Foods have pledged to stamp out abuse and exploitation of workers through the implementation of an anti-forced labour programme.

Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand Foods (CP Foods) has confirmed 426 contract farmers supplying the business with live chickens have completed a Good Labour Practices (GLP) training programme organised by CP Foods.

Good Labour Practices is an initiative in Thailand that seeks to stamp out workplace abuse that includes injustices like child labour and modern-day slavery. It was implemented after Thailand’s multi-billion-dollar seafood sector was rocked by allegations of abuse. More recently, Thailand’s chicken sector has moved to adopt GLPs​, following claims made by an NGO of alleged human trafficking and slavery at poultry farm Thammakaset 2.

CP Foods has not been implicated in these allegations, but it has led the way in cleaning up Thailand’s chicken industry​. This paved the way for the business to set up a program for its 426 farmers to help them understand labour laws, social security, special welfare and proper documentation of staff.

‘Brothers and sisters’

Sudaporn Suwattanodom, an executive of Golden Farm Company, one of CPF’s chicken suppliers, said the training helped her understand how good labour standards raised the global profile of Thailand’s chicken industry. The company currently employs 20 workers, 11 from Burma, and Suwattanodom has emphasised the importance of workforce equality. “Our staff have been well taken care of as if they are our brothers and sisters,​” she said in a CP Foods statement after completing the GLP programme.

The workshop was held in four Thai provinces: Prachin Buri, Chachoengsao, Nakhon Nayok and Chonburi. CP Foods said it hoped the exercise would help to raise standards in its supply chain to internationally-recognised standards.

All farmers have expressed their commitment with CPF to apply the GLP principle in their labour management at respective farms,​” said Parisotat Poonnapoom, CP Foods senior vice president of Human Resources. “Besides, they are ready for CPF and relevant authorities to audit their practices to ensure compliance with the GLP and international principles.​”

Contract termination

All farmers participating in the CP Foods scheme will be subjected to regular compliance checks from the GPL committee, which includes a member of CP Foods human resources department. All farms will have to demonstrate full conformity to GLP guidelines by the end of 2016.

Farms that fail to adhere to the standards meet with penalties scaled according to the extremity of the offence. Level one forces farmers to improve standards within a specified time and applies when forced labour is found, this could include no record of an employee’s clock-in time or attendance, indicating forced labour. Level two offences occur for repeated non-compliance and CP Foods will freeze contracts until standards have been addressed. A level three offence, the harshest one, applies to human trafficking or child labour offences and CP Foods will terminate the farmer’s contract with immediate effect.

CP Foods said in a statement that helping its supply chain bring labour standards in line with GLP will “enhance the competitiveness of CPF chicken farmers​” and help them “compete with counterparts in Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and worldwide ​[markets]”.

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