Workers across the tuna industry are escalating the campaign to make sustainable jobs and respect for human rights an integral part of a sustainable fisheries industry.
At the launch of Tuna Workers Solidarity in General Santos City, the Philippines’ tuna capital, workers and their families condemned human rights violations, forced labour and trafficking, insecure employment in tuna factories and tuna companies’ refusal to take responsibility for fishing crews lost at sea or abandoned in other countries.
A delegation of tuna workers from the Maritime and Transport Workers’ Union of Papua New Guinea, affiliated to the ITF and IUF, joined Tuna Workers Solidarity and spoke at a press conference together with the IUF, SENTRO and the Citra Mina Workers’ Union.
The case of the Citra Mina workers has been repeatedly highlighted as more than two hundred of the company’s staff were sacked three years ago for daring to form a union. Last year the release and repatriation of 43 crewmen detained in Indonesia was secured by IUF and SENTRO, reporting that Citra Mina had abandoned them there. The returning crewmen subsequently testified at a congressional hearing on human rights violations during their employment.
According to the IUF, the ongoing Citra Mina standoff and the company’s indifference to the fate of its detained crews are examples of the irresponsible, unethical and unsustainable practices that threaten the tuna industry and the communities that depend on it.
More than seven hundred workers in tuna processing and canning as well as tuna vessel crews declared their support for Tuna Workers Solidarity.