Wifol-President criticizes child labor in supermarkets

POSTED: 05/2/12 11:44 AM

St. Maarten – Achieving the 8-hour work day is one of the biggest achievements of organized labor unions, Wifol-President Theophilus Thompson said in his Labor Day address yesterday. “In the past employees worked endless hours without limitation. Employers demanded them to go beyond their capabilities.”

While those days are gone and today’s workers enjoy an 8-hour working day, “the struggle continues today,” Thompson said. “In 1990 the International Labor Organization ILO proclaimed that in addition to the 8-hour working day, decent work would become the standard. That had far reaching implications. Minimum wages were established to enable workers to earn a decent income. This eliminates poverty and guarantees workers’ participation in our community in a meaningful way.”

Thompson mentioned road-workers and packer boys at supermarkets as issues that warrant attention. The road workers are not provided with proper outfits and equipment, making their jobs hazardous, the union-leader said.

For the packer boys in supermarkets he went one step further. “There is child labor in supermarkets. These young people are packing groceries and then they have to wait for tips. That is a form of exploitation and a way to acquire cheap labor. They have no health insurance and if anything happens on the job they are not covered. I hope that on this Labor Day more reflection will take place, and I wish all workers a pleasant Labor Day.”

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