Thai Union will cease working with all external pre-processors by the end of this year, in its move to quell international criticisms against the use of illegal workers in its frozen-seafood supply chain.
In the statement released today, the company said that it would bring all shrimp processing operations in-house, to ensure full oversight of all processing stages. From next month, all processing work will be directly controlled by the group, ensuring that all workers, whether migrants or Thai, are in safe, legal employment and are treated fairly and with dignity. It is estimated that the external units employ about 1,000 migrant workers.
The company said that this decision followed a full review of supply chain and the release of revised Business Ethics and Labour Code of Conduct in September 2015. It noted that despite regular audits, it is difficult to guarantee that all external pre-processors were adhering to the Code of Conduct.
"This is a positive step towards our goal of ridding the Thai seafood sector of illegal labour practices. We are committed to leading improvements in the industry and we hope this reminds all operators that they must remain focused on promoting good labour practices – the abuse of human rights must not be tolerated,” said Thiraphong Chansiri, president and CEO of Thai Union.
Earlier, Greenpeace launched a campaign against TU's products, citing the company's failure to ensure safe and sound work conditions for the migrant workers.