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Our Research Catalogue contains grants and outputs data up to the end of April 2014. Records will no longer be updated after this date.

BEYOND SELF-REGULATION? RECENT ATTEMPTS TO REGULATE LABOUR STANDARDS AT GLOBAL LEVEL

Grant reference: RES-451-26-0719

« View grant details

Impact Report details

Beyond Self Regulation? Recent Attempts to Regulate labour Standards at Global Level
The aim was to bring together specialists in industrial relations, international law and international organizations to analyse the regulatory frameworks, marshal empirical evidence of their impact, and contribute towards a more accurate conceptualisation of the current nature of labour standards regulation at global level. The main objectives were: • To explore the construction of a global labour standards framework which can be related to the ways that employment relationships are changing globally though the following areas of concern - Contract and agency labour; Private equity and changes in ownership; and Migrant labour. • To encourage user engagement with global regulatory agents including the OECD Trade Union Advisory Committee; Global Union Federations; the Global Policy Institute; and the Global University and Global Union Research network based in the International Labour Office, Geneva. • To establish a network of academic research collaborators at the following universities - Centre for Employment Studies Research, UWE, Bristol; Hertie School of Governance, Nottingham University, Frankfurt-am-Main; Centre for Labour Market Studies, University of Leicester; Sheffield University School of Management; and Manchester Business School. • To disseminate working papers to the academic and practitioner community. • To publish working papers on a dedicated website hosted at Middlesex University Global Work and Employment Project.
English

Primary contributor

Author Martin Upchurch

Additional contributors

Contributor Richard Croucher
Contributor Joshua Castellino
Contributor Elizabeth Cotton

Impacts

Our key objective was to bring together practitioners and academics in exploring data and case studies. Over the four seminars we have been successful in attracting practitioners as main speakers from the International Labour Organisation, International Metal Workers Federation, the IUF (International Food and Allied Workers), ICEM (International chemical and mine workers) in Seminar One. Anti-Slavery International, IUF, Mafiwasta (an NGO based in the Middle East), UCATT, and Liverpool’s ‘Working with Communities’ in Seminar Two. Other practitioner participants in the seminars included representatives from UK based trade unions, and migrant workers’ organisations in Belfast and North West England. We were also successful in focusing our work internationally, with delegates at the seminars from Thailand, Russia, Moldova, France as well as the UK, and case studies from Thailand, Russia, Colombia, Northern Ireland, Saudi Arabia and Italy. The final seminar brought together 60 attendees where a range of possible researcg agendas and collaborations was discussed. All detail of the seminars is found on the associated website at http://www.globalworkonline.net/blog/beyondlabour/

A number of case studies have been published, which have involved close collaboration with practitioners attending the seminars. For example, the case study on Colombia has resulted in a publication ‘Organising Contract Workers in the Colombian mining industry’, by Elizabeth Cotton to be published in the journal ‘Environment and Planning’ in 2013. The work conducted by academics associated with the seminars has also resulted in wider publication of articles which examine the role and influence of Global Union Federations in policy making. Examples are an article ‘Global unions as imperfect multilateral organizations : an international relations perspective’ by Elizabeth Cotton and Rebecca Gumbrell-McCormick (Birkbeck) to be published in ‘Economic and Industrial Democracy’ in 2013, and an article by Richard Croucher and Lilian Miles (Middlesex University) on ‘A Rawlsian basis for core labour rights’ published in the journal ‘Comparative Labor Law and Policy’ in 2012. In addition, collaboration with the IMWF (above) resulted in an extended edition of Croucher and Cotton’s book on Global Unions, Global Business being commissioned by the global union federation, with added case study material flowing from the seminar.

After each seminar, close follow up work was pusued by the Middlesex academics with practitioners involved in the seminars. This follow-up work involved detailed interviewing for case study purposes, and collection of new primary data direct from the particular global union federation.

More than 100 individual academics attended the four seminars over the period of the series from a wide range of universities and institutions in the UK, Switzerland, France and Germany. Closer collaboration was established either by article submission or research participation , in particular, with Dr. Connor Cradden (University of Geneve), Professor Miguel Martinez Lucio (Manchester Business School), Professor Paul Stewart (Strathclyde University), Dr. Rebecca Gumbrell-McCormick (Birkbeck), Professor Kevin Doogan (Bristol), Professor Linda Clarke (Westminster) and Professor Sonia McKay (London Metropolitan).

One key objective of the seminar series was to raise new agendas among practitioners from NGOs and international trade unions within the arena of global labour regulation. We were very pleased with the penetration that the series had with such practitioners from a range of Global Union Federations, an usual success given the general focus of academic research and collaboration with nationally specific unions. One key achievement was to integrate labour rights with agendas of human rights, which flowed from the involvement of senior human rights and immigration academics and practitioners in the programme of work.

The seminars consolidated the work in the field of the cross over between human and labour rights by bringing together our key academics in the field (Professor Joshua Castellino, Dr. Helena Wray from Middlesex and Professor Keith Ewing from Kings) with practitioners and activists working with migrant workers from Liverpool, Belfast and the Middle East.

The contact made between academics and practitioners at both the contract labour and migration seminars proved of great value in fertilising ideas, and provoking further thought for public policy. The migration seminar (held in Liverpool) was especially useful in this respect, involving local council officials and representatives from the Fire Service and Police.

Groups (non-academic) participating in the seminars included the International Labour Organisation, International Metal Workers Federation, the IUF (International Food and Allied Workers), ICEM (International chemical and mine workers), Anti-Slavery International, Mafiwasta (an NGO based in the Middle East), UCATT, Unison, Liverpool’s ‘Working with Communities’ organisation, Merseyside Authority, Merseyside Policeand Fire Service.

Further academic articles are planned building on research collaborations established during the course of the seminars.

None

See 3B above.

The seminar held in Geneva (private equity) was less well attended than the other three seminars. This seminar took place in Geneva because of its close location to the headquarters of the ILO and some Global Union Federataions that had not previously been involved in the seminar series. However attendance was limited from ILO representatives who had been called to a meeting of the ILO that took place at the same time and day as our seminar.

Cite this outcome

Harvard

Upchurch, Martin et al. BEYOND SELF-REGULATION? RECENT ATTEMPTS TO REGULATE LABOUR STANDARDS AT GLOBAL LEVEL: ESRC Impact Report, RES-451-26-0719. Swindon: ESRC

Vancouver

Upchurch Martin et al. BEYOND SELF-REGULATION? RECENT ATTEMPTS TO REGULATE LABOUR STANDARDS AT GLOBAL LEVEL: ESRC Impact Report, RES-451-26-0719. Swindon: ESRC.