Unfair labour practices in Asia shrimp farms

Question

According to a report by Fairfood International, published on 8 April 2015 and not yet refuted, shrimp farms in Asia are employing labour at well below real wages (EUR 8 per worker per day) and under unacceptable labour conditions according to EU standards (60 hours per week). According to the report, shrimp produced under these conditions is exported to the European market through identified distributors and brands in large commercial units, such as Lidl, ALDI, Plus and Jumbo. In addition to the abusive treatment of workers in Asia, these commercial practices pose unfair competition to European companies and workers. Is the Commission aware of this report?

Which measures will it take in order to guarantee the fair treatment of workers who supply the European market?

Answer

The Commission is aware of the report by Fairfood International the Honourable Members refer to and is committed to promote decent work worldwide.

The EU actively supports decent work, including with regard to the ratification and effective implementation of international labour Conventions and in particular the fundamental labour Conventions in cooperation with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and other partners. These objectives are pursued through a broad range of EU external policies and tools, including political and human rights dialogue, development cooperation and trade policy. For a presentation of key initiatives in these policy areas aimed at strengthening the respect of international labour standards in partner countries, including in Asia, the Commission refers the Honourable Members to its reply to Question E-006328/2015, and to questions E-004593/2015 and E-8916/2015 with specific regard to Thailand, which features prominently in the Fairfood International report.

The Commission also promotes responsible supply chains, including through its policy on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and by promoting the internationally recognised principles and guidelines in this area(1). The Commission encourages large enterprises and enterprises with operations at particular risk of having adverse economic, environmental or social impacts, to carry out risk-based due diligence. It further encourages voluntary initiatives by enterprises and other stakeholders that can help enterprises’ supply chain management in this respect. This approach is also reflected in the declaration by G7 leaders on 8 June 2015.

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