Government clamps down on child labour

Permanent Secretary for Employment Osea Cawaru Picture: FT FILE

MORE than 230 children involved in child labour have been returned to school by Government, says Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations permanent secretary Osea Cawaru.

He made the comment while speaking at the World Day Against Child Labour celebration for teachers and students in the Western Division in Nadi yesterday.

Mr Cawaru said his ministry carried out routine inspections, spot checks, awareness and advice on the importance of children being in school.

“Since 2011 to date, we have dealt with 231 cases of child labour,” he said.

“I am glad to announce that these children have returned to school. Some of these children have enrolled themselves into technical and vocational training programs.”

Mr Cawaru added that it was important for people to understand that not all work done by children were “child labour”.

“For example, assisting your parents or guardian on backyard gardening is not considered as child labour.

“Moreover, school-based activities like having school gardens and doing agricultural projects are not classified as child labour.

“They are part of your holistic education and learning development.

“However, there are some work that are hazardous and can harm your lives, thus, are totally not allowed, like handling of hazardous substances like pesticides and other harmful chemicals.”

Mr Cawaru urged teachers, students and parents present at the event to look at the list of prohibited work on the ministry’s website.

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