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 13: The International Labour Organization, multinational enterprises, and shifting conceptions of responsibility in the global economy
In his first report since being appointed Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2012, Guy Rider declared a need to reform and renew the institutional features of the ILO. In particular, the Report identified the ILO’s engagement with enterprises as one of the four institutional features most in need of such reform. It acknowledged the ILO’s inadequacy in attending to the contemporary realities of the world of work. One distinctive feature of these new realities, which is significantly transforming the way work is organized today, is the rise of multinational enterprises (MNEs) and their operation via international supply chains, which the Report singled out as being ‘one particular area worth examining’. The urgency of addressing the relations between MNEs and the ILO is a product of both the severity of the abuses that occur within international supply chains and the ILO’s feeble response to the violation of core rights within these structures. The Rana Plaza tragedy in Bangladesh in April 2013 underscored this urgency. In this incident, more than 1100 workers died due to unsafe working conditions, which eventually led to the collapse of their factory, illustrating the vital need for greater ILO involvement in protecting the rights of workers in transnational supply chains.
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