As the Sugar Cane Harvesting season is on full swing the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association would like to remind all cane farmers, particularly our BSCFA members, of the following highlights as per the International Labour Conventions, the Labour Laws of Belize, Fairtrade Standards and BSCFA Child Labour and Child Protection approved policy:
Must not submit workers of less than 18 years of age to any type of work which, by its nature or the circumstances under which it is carried out, is likely to jeopardize their health, safety, morals or their school attendance. Examples of work that are potentially damaging includes work that takes place in an unhealthy environment, involves excessively long working hours, night hours, the handling or any exposure to toxic chemicals, work at dangerous heights, operation of dangerous equipment and work that involves abusive punishment or is exploitative. (Ref. FTSTD 3.3.9)
The minimum age requirement (18 years) also applies to children who are employed indirectly by the members, for example when children of workers are working with their parents in their fields. (Ref. FTSTD 3.3.7)
Children below 18 years of age but not less than 15 years are allowed to help members on their farms under strict conditions: members must make sure that they only work after school or during holidays, the work they do is appropriate for their age and physical condition, they do not work long hours and/or under dangerous or exploitative conditions and their parents or guardians supervise and guide them. (Ref. FTSTD 3.3.8)
Furthermore, all cane farmers must be reminded that our sugar is mainly for export to markets that are increasingly demanding in terms of accepting products that are free of child labour. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure a prosperous future for the Sugar Industry which can only be achieved with the well-being of our children and youth.