Friday, March 29, 2013


Some of the children who are attending the newly created Child Labour School of the Bangladesh trade union BSCWF

The core bussiness of trade unions normally is to establish a collective agreement by negotiating about wages and working conditions with the employer or in case the union is dealing with a whole sector, like for example building and construction workers or textile workers, then the trade union has to negotiate with a group of employers. But what to do in countries where a huge amount of people don't have work or only informal work like streetselling or doing small jobs for a few hours? What should a trade union do when children are working because the parents do not earn enough income to live? And to make things worse, what to do when these people don't have any social protection or health care service?

The children attending the Child Labour School get also to eat during school time.
These are questions many trade union leaders around the world have to answer. For example it is obvious that child labour should not exist. In stead of working, sometimes under harsh and dangerous conditions, children should go to school and have time to play around. That is why the International Labour Organization ILO for already a long time is focussing on child labour by adopting special conventions andrecommendations on child labour with the aim to get rid of child labour worldwide.

They are right, children are entitled to education.
But conventions, recommendations and even laws are not enough to eradicate child labour. What is also needed are practical measures and initiatives to help families to get a better income and to help children to get a better future. That is not easy, especially not for trade unions which have no or just limited possibilities to do something. But that there is always a way to do something, even in a poor country like Bangladesh, is demonstrated by the Bangladesh Trade Union BSCWF. During their board meeting in November 2012 the BSCWF decided to start to organize a so called Child Labour School.

Meeting of the parents of the children together with one of the teachers and Warish Ahmed,secretary general of the BSCWF
To give the children a better future, the BSCWF together with the parents decided to start a Child Labour School. The Child Labour School is meant for children of dues paying members and activists of the BSCWF who are working with their parents on their working place. Because of lack of means, it will be a difficult task. But taking the responsibility to do something is the first big step on the long road to create a better world for the children. Therefore we wish the parents, their children and of course the BSCWF lots of succes with their Child Labour School.

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