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Durham University

Durham Law: Policy Engagement

Recruitment in Global Value Chains

THE GLOBAL REGULATORY CHALLENGE: RECRUITMENT AS A GATEWAY TO UNACCEPTABLE FORMS OF WORK



Recruitment in Global Value Chains (GVCs) - in which production processes extend across multiple countries - has attracted attention in recent years. The role of recruiters in people smuggling and modern slavery has been of particular concern. Recruitment processes are therefore a key conduit to Unacceptable Forms of Work.


RECRUITMENT IN GLOBAL VALUE CHAINS: A GLOBAL RESEARCH AGENDA

The Strategic Network on Legal Regulation of Unacceptable Forms of Work has designed a set of Research Agendas on combatting unacceptable work. The Research Agenda on Recruitment in Global Value Chains outlines a strategy for investigating the influence of hiring practices on the form and quality of employment relationships along GVCs.

The Research Agenda has been designed by a Strategic Network Team that pairs researchers with key policy actors:



AN ILLUSTRATION: CAMBODIA AND JORDAN

Comparative research on regulatory frameworks is crucial to combat UFW. It can provide global lessons from innovations in different countries. For this reason, the Network Team on Recruitment in Global Value Chains has suggested that future research should involve comparisons of countries at a range of income levels and in different regions.

A comparison on Recruitment in Global Value Chains should focus on globally-significant regulatory innovations and on contrasting country experiences. As an illustration, Cambodia and Jordan provide contrasting experiences of regulating GVCs in the garment sector that are revealing for the global debates.

Cambodia has had significant regulatory success in reducing UFW in its garment sector, including poor practices associated with recruitment. The ILO/World Bank Better Factories Cambodia programme has played an important role in improving recruitment practices. Yet in recent years Cambodians are increasingly being recruited for work in neigbouring coutnries through new cross-border value chains (e.g. in construction, fishing, and domestic work).

Jordan is a revealing contrast. Most signficiantly, labour recruitment into the Jordanian garment industry is transnational: 75% of workers in the industry are migrants. Addressing the problem of UFW therefore involves complex transnational legal questions that implicate governments, multiple recruitment agencies, and lead firms and buyers.



A GLOBAL RESEARCH AGENDA

For further details, see our global research agenda on recruitment in global value chains.

The key objective of the research agenda is to better understand the various ways in which recruitment impacts the likelihood and extent of UFW.

The Network Team has identified key dimensions of recruitment that are likely to have an impact:

  • worker motivation to be recruited;
  • type of recruiter;
  • procedures and practices of the hiring firm;
  • debt;
  • GVC dynamics.