Table of Contents

Research Handbook on Transnational Labour Law

Research Handbook on Transnational Labour Law

Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by Adelle Blackett and Anne Trebilcock

The editors’ substantive introduction and the specially commissioned chapters in the Handbook explore the emergence of transnational labour law as a field, along with its contested contours. The expansion of traditional legal methods, such as treaties, is juxtaposed with the proliferation of contemporary alternatives such as indicators, framework agreements and consumer-led initiatives. Key international and regional institutions are studied for their coverage of such classic topics as freedom of association, equality, and sectoral labour standard-setting, as well as for the space they provide for dialogue. The volume underscores transnational labour law’s capacity to build bridges, including on migration, climate change and development.

Chapter 24: Emergent maritime labour law: Possible implications for other transnational labour fields

Aimée Asante and Ben Chigara

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, labour, employment law, public international law


The Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC) is a bold and welcome attempt to bring social justice to the maritime world. The MLC entered into force in 2013 and establishes a global regulatory framework for labour protection and enforcement, interrupting the ‘race to the bottom’ that generally characterizes sectors marked by the forces of the globalization of capital. Yet the MLC has not jeopardized the economic viability of maritime employers: MLC-compliant ships are not at a disadvantage with respect to non-compliant ships. Nor has the MLC encroached on State sovereignty: the flag State retains a central role as guarantor of MLC rights and obligations. The success of the MLC framework may soon affect fields outside its scope, such as fishing and agriculture. But the MLC was not spontaneously established, and was rather the product of a long period of evolution, and so attempts to directly transfer this successful ‘model’ to other areas may be misguided, even futile. The MLC nonetheless demonstrates the need in transnational fields for a paradigm shift from the harmonization of parallel sovereign systems to a globally integrated network involving cooperation at different levels of government within and between States.

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