clear
Friday November 24th, 2017 11:32AM

UN labor agency shelves decision to end Big Tobacco ties

By The Associated Press

GENEVA (AP) — In an embarrassing retreat, the U.N. labor agency says it has shelved a decision on whether to end its ties with Big Tobacco, correcting its own statement earlier Thursday indicating that it would cut ties to an industry faulted for major health risks.

International Labor Organization spokesman Hans von Rohland cited a mix-up in which the "tripartite" U.N. agency — bringing together business, labor groups and governments — had previously said it would stop taking funds from the tobacco industry and end their public-private partnerships.

"We sent you the wrong version of the decision taken by the ILO Governing Body on ILO cooperation with the tobacco industry," von Rohland said in an email to reporters. "The ILO has not at this stage made a decision to end cooperation with the tobacco industry."

"We are very sorry for this error in transmission," he added.

Instead of the four-point decision initially sent to reporters, the agency issued a revised, one-point decision saying its governing body had instructed its director-general to present an "integrated ILO strategy" to address labor issues on the tobacco sector at its next meeting in March.

Anti-tobacco groups say the ILO is the last U.N. agency to retain ties to the tobacco business.

The Geneva-based body has struggled to calibrate its mandate to help ensure proper working conditions, particularly in an industry linked to child labor, amid a broader U.N. fight against the health risks of tobacco use.

The ILO has received over $15 million through partnerships that aim to fight child labor in the industry. They include deals with Japan Tobacco International as well as with a nonprofit group linked to some of the world's biggest tobacco companies.

Mark Hurley, an international director with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, called the postponement of an ILO decision "disappointing." He said in a statement that tobacco companies "should have no place in a U.N. agency like the ILO or any responsible organization."

"Tobacco companies use membership in respected organizations like the ILO to portray themselves as responsible corporate citizens and divert attention from their role in causing a global tobacco epidemic that is projected to kill 1 billion people worldwide this century," he said.

The ILO has already committed to abide by the World Health Organization's convention on tobacco, which prevents the tobacco industry from any role in policymaking.

On the labor front, the agency says manual harvesting predominates in the tobacco industry because of the fragility of leaves. It says that presents "a unique hazard" to both adult and child harvesters who can suffer from "green tobacco sickness" — nicotine poisoning caused by contact with the skin.

The industry is important to the livelihoods of millions of workers, often in poor countries. The impoverished sub-Saharan country of Malawi, for example, gets more than 70 percent of its foreign exchange earnings from tobacco exports, ILO says.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Health, AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Agriculture
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Clue, Wiffle Ball, paper airplane enter Toy Hall of Fame
The board game Clue, the Wiffle Ball and the paper airplane are the newest inductees into the National Toy Hall of Fame
10:50AM ( 10 minutes ago )
Prosecutors: German nurse may have killed over 100 patients
German prosecutors say they believe a nurse who is serving a life sentence for two murders may have killed more than 100 patients
10:47AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Sen. Paul's neighbor pleads not guilty in alleged assault
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's long-time neighbor has pleaded not guilty to charges that he assaulted the Kentucky Republican while Paul was mowing his lawn
10:43AM ( 16 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
New Delhi residents offered masks as city chokes on smog
Volunteers have taken to the streets of India's capital and placed green pollution masks over the mouths of willing residents to make a statement about the city's choking smog
8:28AM ( 2 hours ago )
Holy Smoke! Vatican to stop selling cigarettes in its shops
Holy Smoke! Vatican to stop selling cigarettes in its duty free shops, giving up millions in annual profits
8:20AM ( 2 hours ago )
In election glow, Dems see health care as a winning issue
Dems see political edge from health care, especially widened Medicaid access for low-income people
3:12AM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Health
North Korea's digital divide: Online elites, isolated masses
For Kim Jong Un, North Korea's first leader to come of age with the Internet, the idea of a more wired nation is both dangerous and irresistible
10:19AM ( 41 minutes ago )
UK leader fills Cabinet post after 2nd resignation in a week
British Prime Minister Theresa May has named a new international development secretary to replace a Cabinet minister forced out over unauthorized meetings with Israeli officials
9:54AM ( 1 hour ago )
Saudi Arabia: 201 detained in sweep over $100B in corruption
Saudi Arabia says 201 people detained in sweep over suspected $100 billion in embezzlement and corruption
9:51AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
The Latest: Director says Messing charge not 'reality'
Director Alfonso Arau is dismissing Debra Messing's charge that he demeaned her on the set of her first film, "A Walk in the Clouds."
10:22AM ( 38 minutes ago )
Will your store credit card survive 'retail apocalypse'?
If your favorite store closes, what are the implications for your store credit card?
10:13AM ( 47 minutes ago )
German gov't expects higher tax take, cautious on spending
The German government has increased its forecast for tax income over the next four years amid healthy economic growth, but the interim finance minister is cautioning that the next administration won't have unlimited room to spend more
10:09AM ( 51 minutes ago )
AP Business
Clue, Wiffle Ball, paper airplane enter Toy Hall of Fame
The board game Clue, the Wiffle Ball and the paper airplane are the newest inductees into the National Toy Hall of Fame
10:50AM ( 10 minutes ago )
Prosecutors: German nurse may have killed over 100 patients
German prosecutors say they believe a nurse who is serving a life sentence for two murders may have killed more than 100 patients
10:47AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Sen. Paul's neighbor pleads not guilty in alleged assault
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's long-time neighbor has pleaded not guilty to charges that he assaulted the Kentucky Republican while Paul was mowing his lawn
10:43AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Lebanon: Saudi-aligned party demands PM's return from Riyadh
Lebanese party of PM Hariri who resigned from Saudi Arabia demands his immediate return from kingdom
10:41AM ( 19 minutes ago )
APNewsBreak: Most reported concussions occur on pass plays
APNewsBreak: A video review of 459 reported concussions sustained during the past two seasons has found far more such injuries have occurred on passing plays
10:35AM ( 25 minutes ago )