Assessing the Effectiveness of Transnational Public and Private Policy Initiatives
Leuven Global Governance series
Edited by Axel Marx, Jan Wouters, Glenn Rayp and Laura Beke
Chapter 1: Protecting labour rights in a globalizing world: an introduction
Stories and images of collapsed factories, burned down sweatshops, imprisoned migrant workers, abused child workers, violent suppression of peaceful labour protests and many other violations of internationally recognized labour rights continue to spread across the globe. This is nothing new. Nor is the recognition that addressing these issues is not the sovereign and sole responsibility of a state. Many labour rights violations take place in the context of transnational and global economic transactions, and there has long been a widespread consensus that international action and coordination are necessary to address labour rights violations. International labour regulation, as a result, has a long history. Attempts to internationally coordinate the improvement of labour conditions date back from 1919, when the International Labour Organization (ILO) was established to develop international policies and norms on a range of labour-related issues. Since its creation in 1919, The International Labour Organization (ILO) has introduced a system of international labour standards aimed at ‘promoting opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work, in conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity’.