Organizations voice support for Thai Union labor, fishing commitments

by Perry Wheeler

July 12, 2017

Washington, DC – On TuesdayGreenpeace announced that Thai Union had agreed to far-reaching reforms throughout its seafood supply chains to tackle destructive fishing and improve the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of workers. The news followed a global Greenpeace campaign, pressure from unions and labor organizations, and nearly 700,000 individuals urging the canned tuna giant to agree to more sustainable and ethical canned tuna.

Several organizations have weighed in on the announcement, quotes listed below.

Johnny Hansen, Chair of the International Transport Workers Federation Fisheries Section, said: 

“Developing a strong code of conduct for all vessels in their supply chain, along with enforceable labour standards, is a central component of this agreement. The ITF commits to working alongside Thai Union, and Greenpeace, to ensure that the highest standards of workers’ rights are respected in the seafood supply chain.

“This is an example of the ITF commitment to raising standards for all seafarers regardless of whether they work on a container ship or a fishing vessel. For far too long fishers have been an invisible part of the workforce, and this agreement recognises that all suppliers in the seafood supply chain should adhere to an ethical code of conduct.

“In an industry that has been characterised by high levels of exploitation, labour and human rights abuses and an absence of basic workplace rights, this agreement between Thai Union and Greenpeace is a recognition that the overall sustainability of the industry includes not only better fishing practices but a commitment to improve the treatment of its workforce, and ensure its suppliers do the same. Ultimately, the ITF wants to see enforceable collective bargaining agreements that protect the rights of fishers, vessel crews, and all workers throughout the supply chain.

“The ITF is committed to monitoring the implementation of this agreement to ensure that it delivers real change for fishers, and will to continue to campaign against other seafood companies who do not enforce high labour standards throughout their supply chain.”

Abby McGill, Campaigns Director at the International Labor Rights Forum, said: 

“Improving working conditions in seafood will require fundamental changes that both end abusive practices and establish systems that allow workers to protect their own rights. This agreement is an important step forward toward both of those goals, and shows that companies can make positive change when they work with civil society to envision better ways of doing business. We’ll be watching the outcomes of this agreement closely to see how the commitments in this document are implemented to promote a more just global tuna trade.”

Trevor Sutton, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, said: 

“Thai Union’s endorsement of socially and environmentally responsible practices such as supply chain traceability, collective bargaining, limitations on transshipment, and technological improvements to enhance worker voice are a welcome step forward in the fight against ecological and human rights abuses in the seafood industry. The private sector has a central role to play in bringing these abuses to heel, and the agreement between Thai Union and Greenpeace may provide a model for others in the industry to emulate.”


Notes to Editors: 

For ITF’s full press release, please click here:

For a full list of Thai Union’s commitments, please click here:

For Greenpeace and Thai Union’s joint press release, please click here:

Perry Wheeler, Greenpeace Seafood Communications and Outreach Manager, P: +1 301-675-8766

Perry Wheeler

By Perry Wheeler

Perry Wheeler is a senior communications specialist at Greenpeace USA.

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