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Labour Rights & Bonsucro

Labour rights form part of the Bonsucro’s Standard Core Criteria. Producers must comply with labour laws and observe the International Labour Organisation’s regulations on child labour, forced labour, absence of discrimination, freedom of association, minimum wage adherence, and worker safety.

Sugarcane cutters in Nicaragua. Photo: Joe Woodruff / Bonsucro

Child labour is a serious concern in some parts of the sector, as are health and safety hazards to workers, which include injuries from equipment or plants, repetitive action, overexposure to chemicals, sunlight or smoke, heat and long working hours.

All certified mills demonstrated compliance with the requirements of the Bonsucro Production Standard with regards to minimum age of workers. Mills must not employ workers younger than 15 years old for non-hazardous work and must not employ workers younger than 18 years old for hazardous work. All of the 60 sugarcane mills certified against the Bonsucro Production Standard (considered in this report) have demonstrated through evidence, checked by independent auditors, the absence of any form of child and forced labour in their operations.

Sugarcane field workers in Nicaragua. Photo: Joe Woodruff / Bonsucro

Currently, Bonsucro certified mills and farms provide employment to 159,224 workers, being 91% men,9% women, and 80% of total workers working in farm operations.

The estimated average household size in the countries where the mills operate is approximately 3.7 persons per household. If we consider that 1 person per family works in a Bonsucro certified operation, Bonsucro certified operators may have an important role in supporting up to 589,128 people, thousands of families and communities across cities where they operate. These mills are therefore a central engine for enabling social development in rural areas. Nearly all the mills have developed CSR programmes to support such local community development (investment in health services, education, sports…), however this specific criterion is not captured in the certification process.

Other critical areas monitored by Bonsucro in the area of Labour Rights are: accidents’ frequency and workers’ wages in comparison with national minimum wage.

Outcome Report 2017

This text is taken from the Bonsucro Outcome Report 2017.

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