Nestle adopts action plan for Thai seafood to tackle slave labour

by Michael Shields | Reuters
Monday, 23 November 2015 15:32 GMT

The company says it will protect workers from abuses, improve working conditions and tackle child labour

ZURICH, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Swiss packaged food giant Nestle has adopted a plan for handling seafood from Thailand that aims to address concerns about human rights abuses in the sector, it said on Monday.

Its action plan for this year and next encompasses steps "to protect workers from abuses, improve working conditions and tackle unacceptable practices including juvenile and teenage working," it said in a statement.

Since August, U.S. law firm Hagens Berman has filed two lawsuits against Nestle accusing it of importing fish-based pet food from a Thai supplier using slave labour and importing cocoa beans from suppliers who use child labour, including children trafficked to work on farms, in Ivory Coast.

"Nestle is committed to eliminating forced labour in our seafood supply chain in Thailand, working alongside other stakeholders to tackle this serious and complex issue," Executive Vice President of Operations Magdi Batato said.

Nestle said its plan took into account recommendations from non-governmental organisation Verite.

It said it was working with the Thai government, local seafood suppliers and international buyers on the matter while participating in the International Labour Organization Working Group, which seeks to improve labour conditions in Thailand's seafood export industry.

(Reporting by Michael Shields, editing by David Evans)

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