ERJ staff report (LMH)
Washington, DC -- The US Department of Labor has recognised efforts by tyre company Firestone's union in Liberia to combat exploitative child labour.
The 2010 Iqbal Masih Award for the Elimination of Child Labour, named after a Pakistani worker who spoke out against exploitation, was presented to the Firestone Agricultural Workers Union of Liberia (FAWUL) on 16 Feb 2011.
"This award recognizes the extraordinary efforts of the Firestone Agricultural Workers Union to combat the worst forms of child labor internationally," said US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. "The group serves as a model to others, showing that progress is possible and worth the effort."
Firestone's rubber plantation in Liberia came under attack from the International Labor Rights Forum for poor working conditions and child labour. Although the company did not employ children, workers often brought their children to help ease their workload, according to local reports.
Firestone held negotiations with FAWUL resulting in a Jul 2010 agreement to reduce working hours and to forbid children from accompanying their parents to the plantation to work.
The International Labor Rights Forum nominated FAWUL for its successful negotiations that led to improved wages and working conditions.
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Press release from US Department of Labor