FIJI GARMENT COUNCIL DENIES CHILD LABOR CLAIMS

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (January 6, 1999 - PACNEWS)---Fiji's Textile, Clothing and Footwear (TCF) Council has denied its members employ illegal child labor.

Council President, Mark Halabe, issued the denial in response to a newspaper report yesterday that the Ministry of Labor was going to carry out a raid on garment factories suspected of using child labor.

Under Fiji laws, child labor is the employment of children under the age of 15.

Halabe said young people between the ages of 15 and 18 are allowed to work, but under conditions specified by Fiji's labor laws.

Yesterday's report, he said, implied that garment factories employ about 1,500 children.

He said the reported stated the children were between 15 and 18, so their employment is not illegal.

Misleading reports damage the development of the garment industry, Halabe said, one of Fiji's largest employers.

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