Towards Fair Seas in South East Asia
During 2022, the Ship to Shore Rights South East Asia (S2SR) programme emerged as a dynamic actor supporting multi-disciplinary interventions on safe migration and decent work in the fishing and seafood processing sectors.
Pursuing its normative mandate, S2SR supported the development of 9 pieces of legislation on labour migration governance in Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Viet Nam. The 5 subordinate laws developed by the Government of Viet Nam represent a major overhaul of the legislative framework regulating the recruitment and employment of Vietnamese migrant workers.
To expand regional cooperation on work in fishing, S2SR organized the Fair Seas Labour Conference in Bali, Indonesia. The Conference brought together 85 representatives of government, workers, employers and civil society from 8 ASEAN countries to discuss safe migration and decent work in the fishing and seafood processing sectors and issued a plenary resolution on priorities for regional cooperation.
The S2SR programme also worked to strengthen enforcement of labour laws in several countries. In Thailand, the ILO organized a theory of change workshop to support the development of a more systematic and results-based approach to improving the effectiveness of the labour inspectorates' work in the fishing and seafood processing sectors. In Indonesia, a series of provincial focus group discussions were held to support a multi-disciplinary model of fishing vessel inspection.
For strengthening anti-trafficking responses, S2SR conducted consultations with key stakeholders from Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam to develop a transnational referral mechanism. In addition, 4 operational tools were adopted to strengthen national referral mechanisms for the protection of survivors of trafficking in Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Indonesia, and direct assistance was provided for the repatriation of 23 trafficked fishers in Somalia, Indonesia and Malta.
To increase the engagement of employers, the S2SR programme conducted an assessment to strengthen the effectiveness of the Seafood Good Labour Practice (GLP) Programme. During the launch of the report, the Thai Tuna Industry Association (TTIA) and Thai Frozen Food Association (TFFA) announced a series of commitments to improve the implementation of GLP to become a robust and credible industry improvement programme for the seafood processing sector.
To enhance migrant access to information and services, the S2SR programme supported 15 migrant worker resource centres in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam. Working in partnership with governments, trade unions and civil society organizations, the centres have been able to dramatically scale up sector-specific support for migrant workers in the fishing and seafood processing sectors, reaching 23,564 beneficiaries with individualized and responsive services.
Leveraging the power of social media to expand access to information for Myanmar migrant workers, S2SR partnered with BBC Media Action to implement the Yay Kyi Yar Facebook campaign. Sharing engaging and relatable videos and infographics on safe migration and labour rights, the campaign is followed by more than 1.3 million Myanmar people across ten 10 countries. Several of the posts went viral, including an interview with Mr Moe Wai about his work with migrant fishers at the Kawthaung Migrant Worker Resource Centre.
As a result of grassroots efforts to organize fishers, a total of 648 new fishers joined the Fishers’ Rights Network, bringing its union membership in Thailand to over 3,500. Migrant fishers on two vessels in Rayong were able to negotiate collective agreements with their employers, establishing binding standards for health and safety, wage payments, emergency procedures, access to documents and grievance procedures.