Thai Union Group shared with international business leaders, governments and civil society their journey towards delivering on ethical recruitment and positive outcomes for migrant workers. Ensuring our workers have safe and freely-chosen employment is a key pillar of our SeaChange® sustainability strategy, said Dr. Darian McBain, Global Director of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability.
McBain told the third annual Global Forum for Responsible Recruitment in Bangkok that Thai Union has focused on improving the working lives of and protecting migrant workers.
“Over the past four years, we have worked incredibly hard to promote safe and legal labor in our processing facilities and implemented measures that encourage governments to support responsible recruitment as well,” McBain told the forum, which was hosted by the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB).
The forum was also attended by other global companies including Nike, Nestlé, Walmart, the Coca-Cola Company, along with Kevin Hyland, the UK’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner.
Safe and legal labor is a key pillar of Thai Union’s sustainability strategy, SeaChange®. McBain said that under SeaChange®, the company has implemented several policies that support the rights of workers including eliminating recruitment fees for all those employed in its factories and processing plants.
The ban on recruitment fees follows Thai Union’s introduction of an Ethical Migrant Recruitment Policy, which aims to protect workers and reduce the risk of labor exploitation.
Addressing a session titled “Managing Responsible Recruitment in South East Asia: The Thai Union Experience, McBain said that their work with civil society had been key to developing and operating Ethical Migrant Recruitment Program. The panel session brought together a full recruitment supply chain, from the recruitment agency in Myanmar, International Focus, the NGO providing oversight, the Migrant Worker Rights Network, Thai Union as the processor and Nestlé as the end customer.
At the end of the day, McBain also shared a video prepared by 17-year-old Phurit Chansiri, of interviews with migrant workers from across Thai Union. As a resident and student in Bangkok, Chansiri found himself surrounded by people who have migrated to Thailand, including his own grandfather. Chansiri wanted to explore the similarities in different migration experiences, and the important role that migration plays in a global business environment. The video can be viewed here.
“We have worked hard to combat modern slavery and promote safe and legal labor throughout our supply chains, as well as to position ourselves as leaders of positive change in the private sector,” McBain said.
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