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Decent work in an age of globalisation: governing production networks and the changing role of the International Labour Organization (ILO)

Thomas, Huw David 2018. Decent work in an age of globalisation: governing production networks and the changing role of the International Labour Organization (ILO). PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Abstract

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is often regarded as ineffective in the face of the ‘Global Transformation’, ‘adrift’ and in a ‘state of crisis’. In particular, the ILO’s role in the governance of global production networks (GPNs) is typically neglected or simply dismissed as unsuccessful. This is understandable as the organisation of production and distribution through GPNs has undermined the traditional nation-State (horizontal) paradigm of global labour governance, most notably the international Conventions agreed by the tripartite constituents (governments, employers and workers’ representatives from 187 member States) of the ILO. An important question for the ILO, and indeed the wider international community, is whether, and if so how the Organization can transform the system of global labour governance to address and include the (vertical) GPNs that all too often fail to deliver ‘decent for all’. Drawing upon GPN and global labour governance theory, this research addresses the question of how and under what conditions the ILO can (re)establish labour standards (voice, equity and efficiency) under the ‘Global Transformation’ (in general) and GPNs (in particular). Based on 2 years of participant observation at the ILO’s headquarters in Geneva and field work (questionnaire surveys and focus group discussions) in the Indonesian palm oil and Sri Lankan tea sector, it becomes clear that the ILO must extend its responsibility vertically to address governance gaps and ‘spaces of exception’ and ultimately to promote and protect decent work in GPNs. At the International Labour Conference (ILC) in 2016 the ILO asserted that its labour standards were not ‘fit for purpose’ and a new approach to labour governance in GPNs was needed. An innovative approach to the (re)establishment of labour standards is ‘in the making’ at the ILO with the potential to improve working conditions and rights at work for millions across the globe.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 February 2018
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2019 02:29
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/109072

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