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 10: On the transformative capacity of private fair labour arrangements
Violations of labour law and regulations continue to persist in the 21st century. In 2013 alone, the world witnessed the collapse of Rana Plaza, an eight-storey commercial building, and numerous fires at manufacturing sites in Bangladesh (Burke, 2013), to mention only a few disastrous examples. While violations of fair labour standards occur throughout the world, they are predominant in manufacturing countries and could be prevented through compliance with national and international labour standards. The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations (UN) agency devoted to the promotion of social justice and internationally recognised human and labour rights. It is the most authoritative norm-and standard-setting body on the international level. It has a tripartite governing structure, meaning that workers and employers have an equal voice with governments in its deliberations. In voting procedures, governments offset worker and employer voting capacity because each member country is represented by two government delegates, an employer delegate, and a worker delegate. The core rights have been established in a total of 189 conventions, and deal with issues including child labour, forced labour, non-discrimination and equal pay, freedom of association and collective bargaining. Member countries become subject to the ILO’s regular supervisory system responsible for ensuring that ratified and binding conventions are applied. Enforcement of the conventions relies upon the jurisprudence of domestic courts, as there are no international courts on labour rights.
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