Considerable differences exist between the many kinds of work children do. Some are difficult and demanding, others are more hazardous and even morally reprehensible. Children carry out a very wide range of tasks and activities when they work.
Not all work done by children should be classified as child labour that is to be targeted for elimination. Children’s or adolescents’ participation in work that does not affect their health and personal development or interfere with their schooling, is generally regarded as being something positive. This includes activities such as helping their parents around the home, assisting in a family business or earning pocket money outside school hours and during school holidays.
These kinds of activities contribute to children’s development and to the welfare of their families; they provide them with skills and experience, and help to prepare them to be productive members of society during their adult life. The term “child labour” is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. It refers to work that:
•is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and
•interferes with their schooling by:
•depriving them of the opportunity to attend school;
•obliging them to leave school prematurely; or
•requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
In its most extreme forms, child labour involves children being enslaved, separated from their families, exposed to serious hazards and illnesses and/or left to fend for themselves on the streets of large cities – often at a very early age. Whether or not particular forms of “work” can be called “child labour” depends on the child’s age, the type and hours of work performed, the conditions under which it is performed and the objectivespursued by individual countries. The answer varies from country to country, as well as among sectors within countries.
The worst forms of child labour
Whilst child labour takes many different forms, a priority is to eliminate without delay the worst forms of child labour as defined by Article 3 of ILO Convention No. 182: (a) all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict; (b) the use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances;
(c) the use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs as defined in the relevant international treaties; (d) work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children. Labour that jeopardises the physical, mental or moral well-being of a child, either because of its nature or because of the conditions in which it is carried out, is known as “hazardous work”.
Action against child labour
IPEC has worked to achieve this in several ways: through country-based programmes which promote policy reform, build institutional capacity and put in place concrete measures to end child labour; and through awareness raising and mobilization intended to change social attitudes and promote ratification and effective implementation of ILO child labour Conventions.
These efforts have resulted in hundreds of thousands of children being withdrawn from work and rehabilitated or prevented from entering the workforce. Complementary to this direct action throughout has been substantial in-depth statistical and qualitative research, policy and legal analysis, programme evaluation and child labour monitoring, which have permitted the accumulation of vast knowledge base of statistical data and methodologies, thematic studies, good practices, guidelines and training materials.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Companies are increasingly concerned with child labour in their supply chains. They view it as inconsistent with company values, and a threat to their image and ability to recruit and retain top employees, as well as to the sustainability of their supply chain. And there often is cause for concern: many child labourers work as part of supply chains. They are involved in the production of cash crops and manufactured goods that are exported directly, as well as in the production of goods that serve as inputs into final products; final assembly or finishing of these products often takes place in the importing countries.
They are also involved in domestic supply chains. Despite the challenges of tackling child labour in supply chains that are often long and complex, leading companies have used social dialogue, international labour standards, a collective approach, and a commitment to addressing the root causes of child labour to effectively address the problem. IPEC has a long history of facilitating and supporting these efforts. The 2016 Roadmap for Eliminating the Worst Forms of Child Labour by 2016, adopted at the Hague Child Labour Conference in May 2010, calls for special efforts to made to tackle child labour in supply chains, in recognition of the vital role that enterprises must play to reach the 2016 goal.
The main goal of social dialogue is to promote consensus building and democratic involvement among the main stakeholders in the world of work. Labour law, industrial relations and social dialogue are at the core of ILO member States’ economic and social organization. Since its foundation, social dialogue is a transversal hub of the ILO’s action and a constitutional mandate.
The Declaration concerning the aims and purposes of the International Labour Organisation states that “the effective recognition of the right of collective bargaining, the cooperation of management and labour in the continuous improvement of productive efficiency, and the collaboration of workers and employers in the preparation and application of social and economic measures …” Sound industrial relations and effective social dialogue are a means to promote better wages and working conditions as well as peace and social justice.
As instruments of good governance they foster cooperation and economic performance, advance social and industrial peace through negotiated solutions to important economic and social challenges and boost stability and economic progress, thus helping to create an enabling environment for the realization of the objective of Decent Work.
The “ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization[->0]” (2009) to put the emphasis on that “social dialogue and the practice of tripartism between governments and the representative organizations of workers and employers within and across borders are now more relevant to achieving solutions and to building up social cohesion and the rule of law through, among other means, international labour standards”. The Global Jobs Pact adopted by the International Labour Conference of 2010 states for its part, that “Social dialogue is an invaluable mechanism for the design of policies to fit national priorities.
Furthermore, it is a strong basis for building the commitment of employers and workers to the joint action with governments needed to overcome the crisis and for a sustainable recovery. Successfully concluded, it inspires confidence in the results achieved”. Social dialogue as defined by the ILO includes all types of negotiation, consultation or exchange of information between, or among, representatives of governments, employers and workers, on issues relating to economic and social policy, including child labour, and to terms and conditions of work and employment.
It can exist as a tripartite process with the government as an official party to the dialogue, for example in the development of public policy – including national action plans on child labour or lists of hazardous work. Or it may consist of bipartite relations between trade unions and management (or trade union organisations and employers’ organisations), Dialogue can be informal or institutionalized and often it is a combination of the two. It can take place at the global, regional, national, sectoral, enterprise or workplace level. The enabling conditions of social dialogue
In order for social dialogue to take place, the following must exist:
•strong, independent workers’ and employers’ organizations with the technical capacity and the access to relevant information to participate in social dialogue;
•political will and commitment to engage in social dialogue on the part of all the parties;
•respect for the fundamental rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining; and
•appropriate institutional support.
The role of the state
For social dialogue to contribute to the elimination of child labour, the State cannot be passive even when it concerns bipartite relations between employers and trade unions. It is responsible for creating a stable political and civil climate which enables autonomous employers’ and workers’ organizations to operate freely, without interference or fear of reprisal. Even when the dominant relationships are formally bipartite, the State has a role in providing essential support for the process through the establishment of the legal, institutional and other frameworks which enable the parties to effectively engage in the promotion of decent work and the elimination of child labour.
Jeremy Bentham would have supported child labor laws based upon his utilitarian philosophy. The central idea is that people should behave so as to produce the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. Child labor produces a very small amount of happiness for the family of the children involved, but causes considerable suffering as well and prevents the children from obtaining educations or fully enjoying their childhoods. It also creates a class of disenfranchised ignorant citizens with short life expectancies and who are of very little good to society. There is nothing about child labor that could be supported by a utilitarian philosopher.
But the argument wouldn’t be based on the “evil” of child labor. That’s a religious concept of morality that is quite different than the pleasure principle on which utilitarianism relies. Many things can bring “happiness” in the sense Bentham and J.S. Mill intended this notion to be understood. Pleasure is one source, but so is the satisfaction which derives from work, from sharing with others, from having a family, from community service, etc..
The main criticism of utilitarianism is that it substitutes an hedonic/aesthetic standard of behavior for an ethical/prudential standard. It defines what is “good,” the moral concept, in terms of what brings “happiness,” an hedonic/aesthetic concept. Those who are addicted to notions like “good and evil” and “sin,” most of whom are religious folks, don’t find any validity to Bentham’s views…especially since they are quite obviously “man made” rules of conduct and not “revealed words of god.”
According to utilitarian theory child labour is morally worn in that it does not beneficial to everyone, the children suffer and in some cases they are not paid, further these children should be attending school or performing school related duties other than working, there is a need to educate and train these children in order to prepare them for the job market and employing them before they complete their education will mean that this is violating their rights. Children are normally not aware of their rights and are forced to undertake hard work.
Employers prefer to employ children because they provide cheap labour and also they are easy to control, children are also seen to be more obedient than adults, they therefor employe the children for the purpose of cutting down costs and also because children are easy to control because adults are related with initiatives which include protests and formation of trade unions.
The utilitarian theory which states that morally right actions are those whose outcome maximises benefits to the persons performing them supports child labour in developing countries, this is because the children achieve financial dependence from their parents and also have a chance to earn money to achieve what they like.
Support child labour in the developing countries where child benefit and also the parents whose financial burden is reduced, in developed countries where children work to support their family it is morally right to engage children in such employment opportunities but it must be noted that child labour should not violate their rights to education.
The concern stems from children being separated from their families, exposedto serious hazards and illness or even left to feed for themselves- often at a very early age.
Utilitarianism – based upon maximising good or pleasure and minimising bad and pain. Unlike, egoism that centres on a person excessive or exaggerated sense of self-interst.
Prepare a balance sheet weighting the pros and cons.
Child labour should be stopped on the basis, the tasks children are involved in are difficult and demanding, others are hazedous and morally reprehensible.The emotional pain kids go through easily exceed the advantage of using such a force.
Solutions:> Reducing, rising poverty, through broad-based economic and social development, automatically replacing child workers with their parents, increasing family’s income, as parents are more highly paid. The social welfare of children can also be lined to the social and economic position of women. As women’s income improves, so does the situation of her children. Women whom invest in their children, food, water, clothing and schooling, can immediately combat child labour. >
The rehabilitation of child labourer’s with household benefits and essential services. In providing families, whose parents and guidance work for the organisation with shelter, food and health care, households are more likely to send their children to school.
Referring to theories of duty, stating that when making decisions about actions one has to consider the duties and the rights of the others.
According to the theory the involvement of children at work is wrong, one because it endangers the children both physically and mentally. Children are supposed to go to school and receive necessary training in order to preparethem to become employees.
Child labour according to the Deontological theories violates the natural law of nature, this is because children are yet to be adults where the children are young and do not know their rights, involving them at work places will results into the violation of their rights because most employers tend to exploit them by forcing them to undertake hard work and even not pay them, they further know that children are easy to control than adults and that children will obey, the adults workers know their rights and will not be exploited and they will organise demonstration and even form trade unions that fight for their rights.
Virtue ethic theory:
Child labour is wrong because in most countries law have been set that children should not work and therefor anyone employeing or letting their children work is violating these laws.
Education for children
The legislator of a regime/community must make the education of the young his objective above all. Since there is a single end for the city as a whole, it is evident that education must necessarily be one and the same for all, and that the superintendence of it should be common and not on private basis. The importance of a common education shaping each citizen so as to enable him to serve the common good of the city. “one ought not even consider that a citizen belong to himself, but rather that all belong to the city, for each individual is part of the city.”
Aristotle’s includes physical education, reading and writing, drawing and music as subjects which the young potential citizens must learn. The aim of this education is not productive or theoretical knowledge. Instead it is meant to teach the young potential citizens the practical knowledge – the kind of knowledge that each of them will need to fulfil his telos and perform his duties as a citizen.
We must figure out how to live together through the use of reason and speech, discovering justice and creating laws that make it possible for human community to survive and for the individuals to live virtuous lives. Aristotle’s on slavery! Aristotle’s has said that slavery serves the interest of both the master and the slave.
If the work that comes from their bodies is the best that can come from them… for he is a slave by nature who is capable of belonging to another. They are incapable of fully governing their own lives, and require other people to tell them what to do. Such people should be set to labour by the people who have the ability to reason fully and order their own lives. Slaves get the guidance and instructions tht they must have to live, and in return they provide their master with the benefit of their physical labour.
[->0] – http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/dgo/download/dg_announce_en.pdf