Labour standards and socially inclusive globalisation

The issue of international labour standards has come to the forefront again following the global crisis with the concern as to how to make globalization fairer. The research under this theme explores two sets of issues.

The first aspect of the research
  1. reviews national implementation of International Labour Standards (ILS),
  2. identifies how ILS benefit workers in informal economies,
  3. examines anti-crisis measures that have linked financial aid and assistance with labour standards, and
  4. explores the potential impacts of ILS through trade agreements.

The second aspect of the research relates to
  1. the challenges and opportunities in the areas of public and private governance, including ways of establishing and strengthening social dialogue actors and institutions, in order to address effectively crises and transitions generated in the context of globalization; and
  2. the relevance of social dialogue and labour law in paving the way towards appropriate socio-economic regulation in times of crisis and beyond. A particular focus is on the impacts of policy reforms on European industrial relations following the public debt crisis and austerity plans, and on the impact of the “Arab Spring” on social dialogue actors and institutions in the Middle East and North African region, as well as the relevance of sound industrial and labour-management relations in addressing these two crises.

Featured publications

  1. Research note

    Employment and wages rising in Pakistan's garment sector

    This research note provides an overview of recent trends in employment, wages, and exports in Pakistan’s garment, textile and footwear sector. It shows that the sector is highly important to Pakistan, but it faces a number of major challenges.

  2. Research note

    Employment and wages in Myanmar's nascent garment sector

    This research note examines the garment, textile and footwear sector in Myanmar, a sector that appears poised for strong growth.

  3. Research note

    Cambodian Garment and Footwear Sector Bulletin Issue 4: Trends in Cambodian garment and footwear prices and their implications for wages and working conditions

    The ILO's Cambodia Garment and Footwear Sector Bulletin provides a regular statistical update regarding developments in the sector and includes a feature article on key topics. This month's feature article is on the topic of garment prices and their effect on wages and working conditions in Cambodia.

  4. Research note

    Weak minimum wage compliance in Asia’s garment industry

    Minimum wages can be an important part of the policy toolkit to meet the needs of workers and their families. However, minimum wages do not adequately fulfill this role if non-compliance is widespread. This research note shows that a large proportion of workers in the garment, footwear, and textiles sector in seven garment-exporting countries in Asia are paid below the minimum wage.

  5. Research note

    Gender pay gaps persist in Asia's garment and footwear sector

    Gender wage inequality remains a considerable challenge in developing Asia’s garment and footwear sector. Some of the pay gap can be attributed to differences in factors such as age and education, but discrimination also appears to be a contributing determinant. Women are also more likely to be at the lower end of the wage ladder.

  6. Research note

    Cambodian Garment and Footwear Sector Bulletin Issue 3

    This issue of the Bulletin outlines the process and criteria used to adjust Cambodia’s minimum wage. The analysis is based on official statistics, mainly from the Ministry of Commerce, The Cambodia Investment Board, the National Institute of Statistics and the National Bank of Cambodia.

  7. Research note

    Working hours in the global garment industry

    This research note provides an overview of working hours in the garment sector in major apparel exporting economies. It shows that garment exporters have a range of different limits on normal working hours, overtime work, and penalty rates for overtime, as well as different annual leave and public holidays.

  8. Research note

    Minimum wages in the global garment industry: Update for 2015

    This research note compares minimum wage levels for garment workers across major apparel-exporting middle and low income economies for 2015. The rates of change in minimum wages between 2014 and 2015 are also compared.

  9. Research note

    Strong export and job growth in Asia's garment and footwear sector

    This research note examines wages and working conditions in the garment sector in a range of countries in the Asia-Pacific region. It finds that developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region exported $601 billion worth of garments, footwear and textile products in 2014, three-fifths of the global total. More than 40 million workers are now employed in the sector in the Asia-Pacific region.

  10. Publication

    The Social Dimensions of Free Trade Agreements

    The report provides a comprehensive review of all existing trade agreements that include social provisions and discusses impacts for enterprises and workers.It also helps assess the challenges for arising from the multiplication of trade agreements that include different social provisions.

  11. Publication

    ILO Global Estimate of Forced Labour 2012: Results and Methodology

    The purpose of the present document is to describe in detail the revised methodology used to generate the 2012 ILO global estimate of forced labour, covering the period from 2002 to 2011, and the main results obtained.

  12. Working paper

    Working Paper No. 36: "Non-standard workers: Good practices of social dialogue and collective bargaining"

    This paper provides a comparative synthesis analysis of a series of national studies on non-standard work, collective bargaining and social dialogue in selected countries (Argentina,Colombia, India, Indonesia, Hungary, Japan and South Africa), which the Industrial and Employment Relations Department (DIALOGUE) of the ILO has conducted as a pilot project under the ILO’s Global Product on “Supporting collective bargaining and sound industrial relations”. The national studies aimed at identifying current and emerging non-standard forms of work arrangements within which workers are in need of protection; examining good practices in which people in non-standard forms of work are organized; analysing the role that collective bargaining and other forms of social dialogue play in improving the terms and conditions as well as the status of non-standard workers; and identifying good practices in this regard.

  13. Working paper

    The political economy of pension reforms in times of global crisis: State unilateralism or social dialogue?

    This paper examines the political economy of pension reforms in times of economic crisis and its impact on social dialogue and tripartite institutions in ten countries.

  14. Working paper

    Rights at work in times of crisis: Trends at the country level in terms of compliance with international labour standards

    Seeks to identify trends in rights at work during the global financial and economic crisis that began in 2008, in terms of international labour standards.

  15. Book

    Shaping Global Industrial Relations. The impact of International Framework Agreements

    Assesses the phenomenon of IFAs, examining their impact around the world as well as their effectiveness in fostering labour-management dialogue

  16. Publication

    The Committee on the Application of Standards of the International Labour Conference: A dynamic and impact built on decades of dialogue and persuasion

    Puts together the practical consequences of the annual discussions of the International Labour Conference and emphasizes on what tangible transformations have occurred in the various legal and political systems.

Recent event

EU-ILO-ITC Research workshop on The governance of policy reforms in Europe: Social dialogue actors and institutions in times of economic downturn and austerity, 28 & 29 May 2012, Geneva, ILO, Room XI

The research workshop, organised with the support of the European Union, debated the impact of the crisis and austerity on labour market actors and institutions in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Italy, and Spain, where policy reforms and austerity plans have triggered serious impacts on social dialogue and labour law.