Telenor Myanmar Limited hosted a roundtable discussion on tackling child labour in tea shops and urban areas in Myanmar yesterday, according to a statement from the company.

The meeting, facilitated by the International Labour Organization (ILO), explored challenges and the way forward for collaborative actions against child labour in the country.

About 30 representatives from local and international business corporations, member companies of the Child Labour Platform and their suppliers, ILO, Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar (CTUM), Agriculture and Farmer Federation of Myanmar (AFFM), and civil society organisations joined the discussion. The Child Labour Platform (CLP) is an ILO-led initiative which aims to identify obstacles to the implementation of ILO Conventions on child labour in supply chains, develop practical ways of overcoming these obstacles, and catalyse collective action. Telenor is an active member of CLP.

“This second roundtable event provides an opportunity for key stakeholders from the private sector, workers and employers organizations and civil society to share experiences and seek collaborative and constructive efforts to address child labour in a coherent and sustainable way and [provide] input to identify where the ILO can provide support”, said SelimBenaissa, ILO’s Chief Technical Advisor for the Myanmar Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour.

As part of Telenor’s commitment to eradicating child and underage labour in its supply chain, and promoting high labour standards in Myanmar generally, Telenor has engaged Myanmar Mobile Education (MyME) to provide quality non-formal education to underage workers in selected Telenor branded teashops in Yangon and Mandalay (the MyME Teashop programme), the statement said. It continues, Telenor branded teashops are also required not to hire workers under Myanmar’s legal employment age of 14. These teashops also agree to regular unannounced inspections by Telenor Myanmar’s team of 11 full time Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) inspectors.

Telenor’s suppliers are also required to sign the Supplier Conduct Principles which states that no one under 15 years will be employed directly or indirectly for Telenor business. This is in line with recognised international ILO conventions. Additionally, Telenor Group has defined the age requirement for tower construction sites as a minimum of 18 years, which is in line with the ILO convention and recent local law.

“Supply chains need to be well-functioning and well-regulated in order not to accommodate child labour. We are progressing gradually and through collective efforts of the industry as a whole we look forward to helping lessen child labour in Myanmar,” said Tin Aye Nyein, Telenor Myanmar’s head of Supply Chain Sustainability.