Round table discussion on tackling child labor in Myanmar

13th July, 2016, Yangon – Telenor Myanmar Limited (“Telenor”) today hosted a roundtable discussion on tackling child labour in tea shops and urban areas in Myanmar. The meeting, facilitated by International Labour Organization (ILO), explored challenges and way forward for collaborative actions against child labour in the country.

About 30 representatives from local and international business corporations, member companies of Child Labour Platform and their suppliers, ILO, Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar (CTUM), Agriculture and Farmer Federation of Myanmar (AFFM), and civil society organisations joined the discussion. Child Labour Platform (CLP) is an ILO-led initiative which aims to identify the obstacles to the implementation of the ILO Conventions on child labour in supply chains, develop practical ways of overcoming these obstacles, and catalyse collective action. Telenor is an active member of CLP.

“This second roundtable event provides an opportunity for key stakeholders from the private sector, workers and employers organizations and the civil society to share experience and seek collaborative and constructive efforts to address child labour in a coherent and sustainable way and inputs to identify where the ILO can provide support”, said Selim Benaissa, ILO’s Chief Technical Advisor for Myanmar Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour.

Telenor’s efforts to eradicate child labour in its supply chain

One in five children aged 10 to 17 in Myanmar goes to work instead of school, according to figures from a Myanmar Census report on employment. Some of these children end up working in teashops which are common venues for people to enjoy tea, snacks and beverages.

As part of Telenor’s commitment to eradicating child and underage labour in its supply chain, and promoting high labour standards in Myanmar generally, Telenor has engaged Myanmar Mobile Education (MyME) to provide quality non-formal education to underage workers in selected Telenor branded teashops in Yangon and Mandalay (the MyME Teashop programme). Telenor branded teashops are also required not to hire workers under Myanmar’s legal employment age of 14. These teashops also agree to regular unannounced inspections by Telenor Myanmar’s team of 11 full time Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) inspectors.

Telenor’s suppliers are also required to sign the Supplier Conduct Principles which states that no one under 15 years will be employed directly or indirectly for Telenor business. This is in line with recognised international ILO conventions. Additionally, Telenor Group has defined the age requirement for tower construction sites as a minimum of 18 years, which is in line with the ILO convention and recent local law.

“Supply chains need to be well-functioning and well-regulated in order not to accommodate child labour. We are progressing gradually and through collective efforts of the industry as a whole we look forward to helping lessen child labour in Myanmar,” said Tin Aye Nyein, Telenor Myanmar’s head of Supply Chain Sustainability.

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