News and Events
AUGUST 2020: FLAMEVLAK FILMS LDJ PROJECT SHORT FILM ON IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON DOMESTIC WORKERS IN MEXICO CITY
Mexico City filmmaking company Framevlak is collaborating with the Labour Data/Justice (LDJ) Project in a series of short films on domestic workers in Mexico as they go about their daily lives during the COVID-19 crisis.
Led by Dafnis García Damsky, the filmmaking team is interviewing domestic workers in the country’s capital and one of the largest cities in the world, Mexico City. The film is funded by the University of Exeter GCRF Facilitation Fund as part of our collaboration with Dr Arely Cruz-Santiago, and is part of a broader project that is investigating the potential of legal regulation towards UN Sustainable Development Goal 8 – decent work for all, with a particular focus on the digitalisation of working life.
The short film will be made available on our website and social media soon.
AUGUST 2020: CHALLENGES TO EFFECTIVE LABOUR REGULATION IN COVID-19: DOMESTIC WORK IN MEXICO
The research briefing examines the profound shock to labour markets triggered by the pandemic, as well as its effects on domestic workers’ safety and security.
The briefing also evaluates the threat posed by the crisis to recent progress in extending legal rights to domestic workers in Mexico.
By jeopardising decent work, COVID-19 impedes progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The briefing concludes that labour rights remain vital, and that the particular needs of domestic workers need to be considered separately when designing social and labour responses to the crisis.
JULY 2020: ‘HOW TO PROTECT THE WOMEN WHO MAKE OUR CLOTHES? WORKER VOICE IS VITAL IN THE PANDEMIC’, LSE SOCIAL POLICY BLOG
DWR Project members Professor Deirdre McCann, Professor Kelly Pike and Karina Patricio Ferreira Lima have just published a piece in the LSE Social Policy Blog that discusses the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the global garment workforce, with a particular focus on Lesotho.
The blog draws on the research of the DWR-Africa project to explore the need for global cooperation to protect garment workers from the health and safety challenges and economic hardship brought on by the pandemic, including through strengthened worker voice.
The piece assesses the potential of recent international initiatives to support manufacturers and to preserve workers’ incomes, health, and employment. It looks at the Call for Action in the global garment industry that has been adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and endorsed by key signatories and the efforts of Better Work to integrate work/family into policy responses to COVID-19.
JUNE 2020: RETHABILE’S STORY SCREEENING AT THE 10TH ILERA REGIONAL CONGRESS FOR THE AMERICAS, VIRTUAL CONFERENCE, 25 JUNE 2020
Rethabile’s Story, the DWR-Africa project’s short film on life in the Lesotho garment factories, will be screened at the 10th International Labour and Employment Relations Association (ILERA) Regional Congress for the Americas.
The film’s screening will be part of Session D on 25 June 2020, to be held from 10.15-11.45. It will be followed by a Q&A session with DWR-Africa project members Rethabile Ratsiu, Kelly Pike, Deirdre McCann, Nthabeleng Molise, and director Darren Hutchinson.
The ILERA Regional Congress for the Americas will take place from 24-27 June 2020. Hosted by the Canadian Industrial Relations Association (CIRA), this year’s edition of the event will have over 60 conference sessions and over 250 participants.
The congress was originally planned to be held at Ryerson’s University Red Rogers School of Management, Toronto, ON. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, however, it has been redesigned as a virtual conference.
The full programme of the event is available here.
MAY 2020: RETHABILE'S STORY SCREENING AT THE WORKERS UNITE FILM FESTIVAL, NEW YORK, MAY-SEPTEMBER 2020
Rethabile’s Story, the DWR-Africa project’s short film on working life in the Lesotho garment sector, will have its US premiere in 23 May 2020. The documentary has been officially selected for the 9th season of the Workers’ Unite Film Festival (WUFF), the largest worker solidarity themed film festival in the United States.
The WUFF was originally set to take place this month at Cinema Village in Greenwich Village one of the oldest continuously operated art cinemas in New York City. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, this event will be postponed until 25 September 2020.
However, the organisers have selected some of this season's films to stream on the WUFF website ahead of time, with different virtual line-ups in May and July. Rethabile’s Story will be part of the online screening nights, the first of which is planned for 22 May through 25 May 2020.
The WUFF is a celebration of global labour solidarity. It showcases student and professional films from the United States and around the world which publicise and highlight the struggles, successes and daily lives of all workers in their efforts to unite and organise for better living conditions and social justice. The 9th season of the event is poised to be the biggest yet, with over 30 programmes throughout NYC and over 60 films and events.
APRIL 2020: TEMPORAL CASUALISATION AND ‘AVAILABILITY TIME’: MENCAP, UBER AND THE FRAMED FLEXIBILITY MODEL
Professor Deirdre McCann has just published a research paper that investigates the UK Court of Appeal decisions in Uber and Mencap, which are being heard by the Supreme Court in 2020. The paper explores what these cases reveal about the regulatory dimensions of temporal casualisation. The paper argues that the cases expose a fracture between, on the one hand, legal frameworks on working time and wages, and on the other hand, a sectoral and gendered treatment of working hours.
The paper highlights the pertinence of Professor McCann's Framed Flexibility Model to conceptualising and regulating working time in these cases, with a particular focus on Mencap. It argues that each of the cases embodies one of the two principal conceptions of working time in labour regulation frameworks: productivity regulation and the unitary approach. By proposing a location-based unitary approach applicable to both working time and wage regulation, the Framed Flexibility Model provides a regulatory model suited to both care workers (Mencap) and private hire drivers (Uber). The paper argues that the Supreme Court should uphold and clarify the Court of Appeal’s decision in Uber and overturn the judgment in Mencap.
Drawing on this research paper, Professor McCann has also published two blogs titled ‘Now That We Care About Carers: Temporal Casualisation in Mencap and Uber’. A lengthier version of the piece is available in Medium, and a shorter one in the Oxford Human Rights Hub.
Professor Deirdre McCann, Principal Investigator of the DWR Project, has been conferred as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. This prestigious award recognises her research, leadership, and impact in the field of labour regulation.
The new Fellows are drawn from academics, practitioners and policymakers across the social sciences. All have been elected on the basis of their outstanding contributions to research and to the application of social science to policy, education, society and the economy.
About the Academy of Social Sciences
The Academy of Social Sciences is the national academy of academics, learned societies and practitioners in the social sciences. Its mission is to promote social science in the United Kingdom for public benefit. The Academy is composed of approximately 1400 individual Fellows, 46 Member Learned Societies, and a number of affiliates. Together, this body of organisations is a community of some 90,000 social scientists. Academy Fellows are leading professional social scientists from academia and the public and private sectors. The Campaign for Social Science is an integral part of the Academy.
MARCH 2020: FRAMED FLEXIBILITY: A NEW MODEL FOR WORKING TIME LAWS
The Decent Work Regulation Project has just published a series of policy briefings on the Framed Flexibility Model, a framework for working time laws that is suited to the contemporary labour markets of the global North and South.
Designed by Deirdre McCann and Jill Murray, the Model responds to an urgent need: to find effective regulatory models for the precarious and informal working relations that are expanding across the advanced industrialised world and have long been characteristic of the South.
These policy briefings outline the principles and sets of standards that underpin the Framed Flexibility Model and provide a Model Law to illustrate the Model. The Law is designed for the regulation of working time in one of the key forms of informal labour: domestic work.
FEBRUARY 2020: PRESENTATION AT THE WORKSHOP ON ‘GENDER EQUALITY IN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT RESEARCH’, DURHAM UNIVERSITY
On 14th February, the project on Decent Work Regulation participated in the workshop ‘Gender Equality in International Development Research’, organised by Durham University’s Research Development team for academic institutions across the North East.
The workshop guided researchers about the issues they need to consider around Gender Equality when designing International Development projects, and what UKRI’s expectations are in this respect, including guidance on writing Gender Equality statements for GCRF proposals.
Professor Deirdre McCann was invited to share her experience of incorporating gender equality into research on international development. In particular, she presented the project on Decent Work Regulation as a case study with multiple considerations of gender equality in research on labour law in the global South. The presentation included an overview of past projects on Unacceptable Forms of Work and Decent Work Regulation in Africa, along with the new project on Labour/Data Justice for domestic workers in Mexico.
The workshop also included presentations from Dr. Baljinder Bains (International Development Team, Policy Manager at UKRI), Professor Andrew Burton (School of Arts & Cultures, Newcastle University) and Dr. Steve Chivasa (Department of Biosciences, Durham University).
The slides of Professor McCann’s presentation can be downloaded here.
FEBRUARY 2020: LABOUR/DATA JUSTICE PROJECT NOTE
The DWR Project has just published a Project Note on the Labour/Data Justice (LDJ) Project. The note introduces our new research project on working conditions regulation in the context of the digital transformation of working life.
The LDJ Project is supporting a set of linked research and policy activities towards understanding and improving labour market regulation within the context of ‘digitisation.’
A first phase of the project investigates novel, globally-significant, law-centred initiatives to improve the conditions of domestic workers in Mexico. The aim is to generate findings and recommendations that can help to shape national and international legal policy on domestic work and the digitisation working life.
Click here to download the LDJ Project Note in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
FEBRUARY 2020: DECENT WORK REGULATION PROJECT NOTE
Just launched: a Project Note that introduces the DWR Project and all of our research activities from 2017-21.
The publication summarises the project’s activities, events, and outputs since it was established through an ESRC/GCRF Strategic Network Grant on Legal Regulation of Unacceptable Forms of Work (UFW) (2017-18). Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), the project established a global network that now includes more than 60 research and policy bodies in 20 countries across the world.
In 2018-19, the DWR Project launched Decent Work Regulation in Africa (DWR-Africa), which established a regional network of researchers and stakeholders in southern Africa, conducted research on challenges to labour law enforcement in the region, and generated recommendations for research and regulatory policy.
In 2019, the DWR Project launched the Labour/Data Justice Project (2019-21), which is focusing on the design and implementation of regulatory frameworks that can improve job quality in the context of the digitisation of working life. A first phase of the project will investigate novel law-centred initiatives to secure decent work for domestic workers in Mexico. The focus is on the rapid digitisation of the sector and the challenges it poses for labour/data justice.
Click here to download the DWR Project Note in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
JANUARY 2020: RETHABILE'S STORY SCREENING AT THE LERA 72ND ANNUAL MEETING, PORTLAND, 13 JUNE 2020
Rethabile’s Story, the DWR-Africa project’s short film on life in the Lesotho garment factories, will be screened at the 72th Annual Meeting of the Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA), the leading labour and employment relations network in the country.
The screening will be part of the symposium is ‘Improving Labor Standards in Global Supply Chains Part II: Trade Unions and Labor Transnationalism’, chaired by Lance Compa (Cornell University). Rethabile’s Story will set the scene for a presentation by project member Kelly Pike (York University, Canada) on challenges to the regulation of decent work in Africa and the DWR-Africa project.
Christopher Raymond (Cornell University) will also present on Labor Transnationalism and Horizontal Solidarities in the Bangladeshi Garment Industry. Elizabeth A. Bennett (Lewis & Clark College) will act as a discussant in the session.
The LERA 72th Annual Meeting will take place from 13-16 June 2020. It was originally to be held at the Hilton Portland Downtown, Portland, OR. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, however, it has been redesigned as a virtual conference. The event will include over 80 workshops and sessions and the participation of more than 350 presenters from every community focused on ‘the world of work’.
DECEMBER 2019: DWR-AFRICA LAUNCHES DEVELOPMENTAL ENFORCEMENT REPORT
The project on Decent Work Regulation in Africa (DWR-Africa) has just published the report on Developmental Enforcement, which focuses on the most urgent challenges to public and private enforcement of labour standards in the South African and Lesotho garment sectors.
The study was led by Shane Godfrey of the Labour and Enterprise Policy Research Group at the University of Cape Town, South Africa and co-authored by Debbie Collier, Roger Ronnie, and Abigail Osiki (Labour and Enterprise Policy Research Group, University of Cape Town), Deirdre McCann (Durham Law School, UK) and Kelly Pike (Global Labour Research Centre, York University, Canada).
The Developmental Enforcement report investigates the effectiveness of labour standards enforcement in South Africa and Lesotho in the context of contemporary challenges to labour enforcement systems and the garment sector. It explores the potential for a more coordinated approach that is informed by hybrid models of enforcement.
The report is an outcome of a novel global multi-scalar process of interdisciplinary research and stakeholder dialogue that was carried out from January 2017 to June 2019. The project involved extensive stakeholder engagement at the international, regional, and national levels.
To download the executive summary and full report, click here.
DECEMBER 2019: DWR PROJECT AWARDED DURHAM GCRF NETWORK GRANT FOR RESEARCH ON LABOUR/DATA JUSTICE FOR DOMESTIC WORKERS IN MEXICO
The Decent Work Regulation (DWR) Project has won a Durham Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Network Grant for an innovative study on labour/data justice in the global South.
The award will support an investigation of novel and globally-significant initiatives to secure decent work for domestic workers in Mexico. The research will focus on the rapid digitisation of this sector and the challenges it poses for labour/data justice, legal regulation, and achieving Sustainable Development Goal 8 (decent work and economic growth).
The Project will develop global South partnerships and extensively engage with local stakeholders across 2020-2021. The aim is to generate findings and recommendations that can help to shape national and international legal policy on domestic work and the digital transformation of working life.
Further information on the project will be made available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese on the DWR Project website soon.
NOVEMBER 2019: DECENT WORK REGULATION PROJECT HIGHLY COMMENDED IN THE DURHAM UNIVERSITY IMPACT AND ENGAGEMENT AWARDS 2019
The DWR Project was highly commended in the Durham University Impact and Engagement Awards 2019. Organised by the University’s Research and Innovation Services (RIS), the aim of the awards is to recognise innovative forms of impact and engagement activity, including reaching new audiences, communities or stakeholders.
The prize recognises the DWR Project’s reframing of the global labour regulation policy and practice through its influence on the United Nations (UN) and in sub-Saharan Africa.
The DWR network’s findings and recommendations have been used by the UN International Labour Organization to shape global policy on effective labour laws. In Africa, the project findings have been drawn on by the Lesotho Labour Commissioner, the Apparel Manufacturers of South Africa, ILO Pretoria, and by trade unions across the region. The IndustriALL union, for example, has used them in capacity-building (Swaziland, Madagascar), collective bargaining (Uganda, Zimbabwe), and advocating for rights in Export Processing Zones (Ethiopia). In Lesotho, the project has contributed to Labour Code reform and generated a national-level Framework for a Decent Work Training Programme.
OCTOBER 2019: RETHABILE’S STORY SELECTED FOR THE CANADIAN LABOUR INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Rethabile’s Story, the DWR-Africa project’s short film on working life in the Lesotho garment factories is one of twenty-five films selected from the hundreds submitted to the tenth annual Canadian Labour International Film Festival (CLiFF). The film will be screened on Saturday, 23 November 2019 at Carlton Cinema, 20 Carlton St, Toronto.
Cliff is a film festival devoted to stories of workers – unionised and non-unionised – and open to the public. Since 2009, CLiFF has been screening films about workers, the conditions under which they live and work, and related social justice issues in over 130 locations across Canada. The festival has become a platform for the voices of workers who seek justice on the job and dignity in their workplaces.
Further information is available on the festival’s official website.
SEPTEMBER 2019: DWR-AFRICA PROJECT FEATURED ON DURHAM UNIVERSITY LATEST RESEARCH
The DWR-Africa Project has been featured on the Durham University Research site, which highlights research projects led by the University.
The article points to the challenges to effective labour rights that face workers across the world in low-waged and insecure jobs, with a focus in Southern Africa. It discusses Rethabile’s Story, the short film recently launched by the DWR-Africa project on daily working life in the Lesotho garment factories.
The University recognises the progress achieved by the Durham-led Network as various organisations, including the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) and trade unions across Africa are already using this research to shape and enforce effective labour laws.
SEPTEMBER 2019: RETHABILE’S STORY LAUNCH, ILO GENEVA, 8 JULY 2019 – HIGHLIGHTS FILM
The Special Session launched our short film on the Lesotho garment sector - Rethabile's Story - in discussion with the director and producer, Darren Hutchinson. The film screening was followed by a round table discussion on Africa in the Future of Work.
The highlights film is a collaboration with Dreamscope TV, a longstanding partner of the DWR Project.
JULY 2019: PRESENTATION OF STUDY ON DEVELOPMENTAL ENFORCEMENT
On 10 July 2019, DWR project members Professor Deirdre McCann (Durham Law School) and Professor Kelly Pike (York University Canada) presented the findings of a forthcoming DWR-Africa study on the enforcement of public and private labour standards in South Africa and Lesotho.
The study - Developmental Enforcement? - is co-authored with Shane Godfrey, Debbie Collier, Roger Ronnie, and Abigail Osiki of the Labour and Enterprise Policy Research Group, University of Cape Town. It was presented on 10 July as part of RDW Session 8.5 on Enforcement Innovation: Lessons from the Garment Sector. The Session also included papers by Youbin Kang (University of Wisconsin - Madison, USA) on Access to Justice after Rana Plaza and Tamara Brezighello Hojaij (Fundação Getulio Vargas, Brazil) on The Brazilian Labour Prosecution Office and Business Liability for Human Rights Violations in Supply Chains.
To download the slides of their presentation, click here.
JULY 2019: RETHABILE’S STORY LAUNCH EVENT AND ROUND TABLE ON AFRICA IN THE FUTURE OF WORK, ILO GENEVA, 8 JULY 2019
The Regulating for Decent Work (RDW) Conference was held in the UN International Labour Office, Geneva, from 8-10 July 2019. Co-hosted by Durham Law School, the event focused on the future of work.
The DWR Project held a Special Session on the first day of the RDW Conference. The Session launched our short film on the Lesotho garment sector - Rethabile's Story - in discussion with the director and producer, Darren Hutchinson.
The film screening was followed by a round table discussion on Africa in the Future of Work with panellists Natasja Ambrosio (Head of Sustainability, Mr Price Group, South Africa), Limpho Mandoro (ILO Pretoria), Professor Kelly Pike (York University, Toronto) and Marlese Von Broembsen (WIEGO). The panel was chaired by Professor Deirdre McCann, Principal Investigator of the DWR Project.
MAY 2019: 6TH REGULATING FOR DECENT WORK CONFERENCE: ‘WORK AND WELL-BEING IN THE 21ST CENTURY’, 8-10 JULY 2019
The 6th Regulating for Decent Work (RDW) Conference will be held in the International Labour Office (ILO), Geneva, from 8-10 July 2019. Focused on the future of work, the conference aims to advance understanding of the innovative institutions and policies that can help to ensure a more equitable and just society and coincides with the ILO’s Centenary celebrations.
The RDW Conference will again be co-hosted by Durham Law School through the ESRC-funded Decent Work Regulation project.
Durham Law School has a longstanding relationship with the ILO through Professor Deirdre McCann, the Principal Investigator of the Decent Work Regulation Project. The leading international interdisciplinary conference on labour regulation, the RDW Conference was initiated by Professor McCann and Dr Sangheon Lee, and has been held bi-annually since 2009.
On 8th July, the Decent Work Regulation (DWR) Project will hold a Special Session at the RDW Conference. The Session will launch the 25-minute full version of Rethabile’s Story, a short film on life in the Lesotho garment factories. The film will be followed by a round table on Africa in the Future of Work.
APRIL 2019: REGULATING UNACCEPTABLE FORMS OF WORK: A STRATEGIC APPROACH
Upgrading low-waged and insecure work is crucial for worker protection and sustainable development, including to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. For this purpose, effective labour regulation is essential. Yet the regulatory frameworks that can improve Unacceptable Forms of Work (UFW) are underdeveloped.
The Multidimensional Model of UFW has been designed for local stakeholders to identify and address UFW in local contexts.
This new Research Briefing focuses on the regulatory dimension of the Multidimensional Model. It outlines a new strategic approach to UFW regulation that supports development objectives, acknowledges the limited resources of low-income countries, and aims at extensive and sustainable effects.
To download the research briefing, click here.
APRIL 2019: LAW’S DYNAMIC EFFECTS: THE CASE OF SOUTH AFRICA
Decent Work Regulation has launched a new page on the project on Law's Dynamic Effects: The Case of South Africa. The study, which is being conducted by Sufia Singlee as her doctoral research, is part of Durham University’s newly-established Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT).
The study centres on the recently introduced National Minimum Wage (NMW) in South Africa and focuses on the application of the minimum wage to informal work relationships. Supervised by Professor Deirdre McCann and Professor John Linarelli, Sufia’s research contributes to the labour market policy debates on effective labour regulation in the context of Goal 8 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), on decent work and economic growth.
The CDT held a launch event on 13 March 2019 to recognise the 26 projects supported by the Centre. All of these projects are interdisciplinary and address a challenge associated with one or more of the SDGs. All of the PhD students come from a DAC nation.
APRIL 2019: RETHABILE’S STORY
The project on Decent Work Regulation in Africa has just launched Rethabile’s Story, a short film on life in the Lesotho garment factories. Directed and produced by Dreamscope TV, the documentary is narrated by Rethabile Ratsiu, a former factory worker in Maseru, Lesotho, who introduces us to working life in the garment factories and her involvement in the Decent Work Regulation Project.
The film highlights the work of the Decent Work Regulation project in Lesotho, which is working towards more effective implementation of labour rights with a particular focus on work-life balance, gender, and informality. The project is a collaboration between the National University of Lesotho, University of Cape Town, Durham University, and York University Toronto.
The full version of Rethabile’s Story will be launched later this year at the Regulating for Decent Work Conference, International Labour Office, Geneva, 8-10 July 2019.
FEBRUARY 2019: A STRATEGIC APPROACH TO REGULATING UNACCEPTABLE FORMS OF WORK, Journal of Law and Society
‘A Strategic Approach to Regulating Unacceptable Forms of Work’ builds on the authors’ Multidimensional Model of UFW to propose a framework for strategic regulation of UFW. This new approach is tailored towards sustainable development, acknowledges the constrained resources of low‐income countries, and aims for expansive and sustainable effects. The article also re-visits four case studies of key legal regimes that govern contrasting labour practices: mathadi labour in India, domestic work in Uruguay, zero-hours contracts in the UK, and minimum wages in the global North and South.
On the Multidimensional Model of UFW, see further ‘Unacceptable Forms of Work’ International Labour Review 2017.
FEBRUARY 2019: ROMA: HOW ALFONSO CUARÓN’S MOVIE IS SPURRING MEXICO TO TREAT DOMESTIC WORKERS MORE FAIRLY – THE CONVERSATION
A day after Alfonso Cuarón won the Best Director Oscar for Roma, Karina Patricio Ferreira Lima and Arely Cruz-Santiago published a piece on The Conversation that highlights innovations on labour rights for domestic workers in Latin America and reflects on how the film comes at a timely moment for legal reforms in Mexico.
The article, titled ‘Roma: how Alfonso Cuarón’s movie is spurring Mexico to treat domestic workers more fairly’, reflects on the main challenges for the legal regulation of domestic work worldwide. It puts Latin America at centre stage as a region that has made significant improvements in this area since the 2000s, even if Mexico is only finally catching up.
In this regard, the authors suggest that there are reasons to believe that legislative reforms may be on the way in Mexico. While these developments owe much to workers’ campaigning and political changes in the country, Roma has played an important role by highlighting the struggle of the profession.
If the promising signs in Mexico bear fruit, Cuarón’s masterpiece will have helped secure decent conditions for domestic workers in a country which has denied them for too long. Roma surely deserves its Hollywood awards, but achieving real reform will be worth a great deal more.
Karina Patricio Ferreira Lima is a doctoral researcher in Law and works as a Research Assistant on the Project on Decent Work Regulation. She is also a Modern Law Review Scholar. Arely Cruz-Santiago is an ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Geography and worked as a Project Manager on the DWR Project from 2017-18.
FEBRUARY 2019: DWR PROJECT WELCOMES NEW GCRF CDT DOCTORAL CANDIDATE
In February 2019, Durham Law School welcomed Sufia Singlee as a new doctoral candidate. Sufia is a recipient of a PhD studentship from the University’s newly established Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT).
Sufia’s doctoral project will centre on the recently introduced National Minimum Wage (NMW) in South Africa. Its focus is on the application of the NMW to informal work relationships. By employing both doctrinal and interdisciplinary methodologies, the thesis will investigate the NMW’s effects in the informal economy.
Sufia’s research forms part of the overarching project on Decent Work Regulation, led by Professor Deirdre McCann. She will be supervised by Professor McCann together with Professor John Linarelli. The study aims to contribute to labour market policy debates on effective labour regulation, thereby furthering Goal 8 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals on decent work and economic growth.
Sufia received both her LLB and LLM (in Labour Law) from the University of Cape Town in South Africa and her LLM (in Human Rights and Social Justice) from the University of New South Wales in Australia. She is a member of the Institute for Development and Labour Law at the University of Cape Town (South Africa), PescaDolus (an independent research and fisheries crime network), as well as the Durham Human Rights Centre at Durham Law School.
The CDT is supporting more than 20 students working on a specific challenge in one or more of the areas associated with the UN Sustainable Development Goals with all PhD students coming from a DAC nation. All CDT PhD projects are interdisciplinary and collaborations with universities in DAC countries.
FEBRUARY 2019: GLOBAL DIALOGUE/LOCAL INNOVATION: LABOR REGULATION AS A PATHWAY TO ACHIEVING THE SDGS
The article - Global Dialogue/Local Innovation: Labor Regulation as a Pathway to Achieving the SDGs - outlines the outcomes of the ESRC GCRF Strategic Network on Unacceptable Forms of Work (UFW), with which Dr Cruz-Santiago was a Project Manager from 2017-18.
The article highlights that conditions of work and other dimensions of worker’s lives - childcare, family life, the urban environment, transport etc. - are interlinked. As a result, the UN Sustainable Development Goals must be thought of in a holistic way. Achieving decent work - SDG8 - is an objective that cross-cuts the SDGs. It is fundamental, for example, to ending poverty (SDG1), reducing inequality (SDG10) sustaining sustainable cities (SDG11) and ensuring gender equality (SDG5).
The article discusses the research agendas and project report produced by the Strategic Network. These identify 10 global challenges to effective labour regulation and argue for finding solutions by sharing experiences and ideas among countries in the global North and South.
JANUARY 2019: LAUNCH OF DURHAM GLOBAL CHALLENGES RESEARCH FUND (GCRF) CENTRE FOR DOCTORAL TRAINING
After a welcome by Professor Rob Barton, Acting Executive Director of the IAS, Dr Douglas Halliday, Director of the new CDT, introduced the CDT and its role within the University. Principal Investigators from across the University then introduced their CDT projects, all of which address one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Professor Deirdre McCann presented the project on ‘Law’s Dynamic Effects: The Case of South Africa’, which will investigate the introduction of a national minimum wage in South Africa in January 2019. The research will be conducted by Sufinnah Singlee and supervised by Professor McCann and Professor John Linarelli at Durham Law School.
To download the presentation slides, click here.
JANUARY 2019: UNACCEPTABLE FORMS OF WORK: A GENDER PERSPECTIVE
Gender equality is at the heart of decent work, including in Sustainable Development Goal 5 – to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. In many cases, unacceptable forms of work (UFW) are present in working environments that are highly gendered.
This Research Briefing draws on our UFW Research Agendas on the global care economy and the garment sector, in which the great majority of workers are female.
To download the research briefing, click here.
JANUARY 2019: ESRC IAA SHOWCASE AT DURHAM UNIVERSITY
On 16 January 2019, the DWR Project was featured at the Economic Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) Showcase at Durham University. Held at Durham Castle, the event celebrated the first Durham ESRC IAA scheme and thanked partners who have worked with the projects funded by the IAA.
The event was opened by Durham University’s Vice-Chancellor, Stuart Corbridge, with guests from the ESRC and other University IAA schemes across the country. The DWR team presented a poster that synthetises the research questions, methods, and achievements of the project. The Showcase also provided an opportunity to share experience with colleagues from Durham University and beyond.
The current ESRC IAA scheme began in March 2014 and, over the past four years, has funded almost 80 impact projects covering a wide variety of themes and disciplines. It was announced at the Showcase that new IAA funding has been awarded to Durham after the current scheme closes in March 2019.
JANUARY 2019: DWR PROJECT POSTER
The DWR Project has designed a poster to highlight our main research questions, goals, and activities from 2015 to the present.
Designed by Karina Patricio Ferreira Lima, the poster outlines the development of the Project, explains our Multidimensional Model of UFW, identifies the key Global Challenges to effective labour regulation and highlights our current research on Decent Work Regulation in Africa (2018-).
The poster was debuted at Durham University’s ESRC IAA Showcase event on 16 January 2019.
DECEMBER 2018: NATIONAL-LEVEL MEETING ON DECENT WORK REGULATION IN LESOTHO
On 6th and 7th December 2018, DWR-Africa hosted a National-Level Meeting on Decent Work Regulation in Lesotho.
The stakeholder meeting was organised by our Lesotho project team led by Professor Debbie Collier of the Faculty of Law, University of Cape Town. It was a collaboration with the National University of Lesotho, led by Dr Regina Kulehile of the Faculty of Law.
The event brought together trade union partners in Lesotho, including UNITE, IDUL, NACTWU, and LENTSOE LA SECHABA, among others. Themes under discussion included effective engagement with labour regulation frameworks, gender and work/life issues, informality, unacceptable work, and the changing/evolving role of trade unions.
The Meeting identified a particular need for learning and skills development that focuses on making legal rights effective in practice, promoting decent work, and protecting workers from unacceptable forms of work.
The event builds on an ongoing DWR-Africa collaboration with researchers and local stakeholders in Southern Africa aimed at improving labour regulation with a focus on the garment sector.
DECEMBER 2018: WORK-LIFE, GENDER AND INFORMALITY IN LESOTHO
The Project on Decent Work Regulation in Africa (DWR-Africa) responds to UN Sustainable Development Goal 8: to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all. To achieve this objective, effective labour regulation is important. Strong labour laws are a vital component of development policies, capable of supporting inclusive growth, sustainable prosperity, and the wellbeing of workers and their families.
This project note focuses on the DWR-Africa in Lesotho, with a particular focus on work-life and gender dynamics and how these relate to informality in - or are associated with - the garment sector.
To download the document, click here.
NOVEMBER 2018: SUBMISSION ON FAIR WORK FOR THE WELSH GOVERNMENT‘S FAIR WORK COMMISSION
The Fair Work Commission was established by the Welsh Government in July to make recommendations on how to achieve fair work. The Commission has released a call for evidence for organisations and individuals to share their experiences to help ensure fair work in practice and a fairer future for all.
Based on the findings of the Project’s research on Unacceptable Forms of Work (UFW), the submission advocates for recognising Fair Work employers as those who combat UFW in their workplaces, contractors, and supply chains, and for identifying indicators of fair work.
The submission is particularly concerned with ensuring that casualised forms of work are included in national- and firm-level efforts to improve the quality of working life.
To download the submission, please click here.
NOVEMBER 2018: LESSONS ON LABOUR REGULATION FROM THE GLOBAL SOUTH – THE CONVERSATION
An article in The Conversation by Professor Deirdre McCann asks what lessons can be learned from the Project on Unacceptable Forms of Work for regulation of the gig economy and forced labour in high-income countries.
The article draws on the Project research agendas to call for lessons to be learned from the global South on combatting unacceptable work.
The article highlights:
- Preliminary findings from the Decent Work Regulation in Africa project that work/family issues are a pressing concern for many workers in the garment sector in Southern Africa;
- Lessons from Brazil on the effective regulation of forced labour;
- A model from India on head-load work that can be drawn on to inspire law reforms in high-income countries to protect workers in the ‘gig economy.’
The study ‘Unacceptable Forms of Work: Global Dialogue/Local Innovation’ is available here.
The Conversation is the leading independent source of news and views from the academic and research community for use by the wider public.
NOVEMBER 2018: DECENT WORK REGULATION IN AFRICA
The Project on Decent Work Regulation in Africa (DWR-Africa) responds to UN Sustainable Development Goal 8: to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all. To achieve this objective, effective labour regulation is crucial. Strong labour laws are a vital component of development policies, capable of supporting inclusive growth, sustainable prosperity, and the wellbeing of workers and their families.
This project note outlines the aims of the Project, presents our Regional Network on Decent Work Regulation, reports our latest events, and highlights our current research on Decent Work Regulation in Africa (2018-).
To download the document, click here.
OCTOBER 2018: DWR-AFRICA WELCOMES THE NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF LESOTHO AS A NEW PARTNER
DWR-Africa is delighted to welcome a new partner – the National University of Lesotho in Roma, Lesotho.
This collaboration will be led by Dr Regina Kulehile, Head of the Department of Public Law, Faculty of Law. Dr Kulehile’s research interests are diverse and include aspects of the regulation of the informal economy in Lesotho, and the barriers to economic development in Lesotho, including the regulatory framework for electronic commerce, which was the focus of her PhD study.
We are looking forward to a fruitful collaboration with Dr Kulehile in working together with DWR-Africa’s stakeholder partners in Lesotho to build capacity to improve working conditions in Lesotho, with an initial focus on work in the garment sector.
OCTOBER 2018: SUBMISSION ON DECENT WORK REGULATION FOR THE UK VISIT OF THE UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON EXTREME POVERTY AND HUMAN RIGHTS (5-16 November 2018)
A submission for the forthcoming vist to the UK of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights (5 to 16 November 2018) has highlighted the intersection of poverty and labour rights and the need for effective labour regulation in the UK.
The submission - by Professor Deirdre McCann of Durham Law School, Principal Investigator of the Decent Work Regulation project - responds to the Special Rapporteur’s interest in how poverty in the UK intersects with economic and social rights issues.
For further information on the submission, click here.
SEPTEMBER 2018: DWR-AFRICA LESOTHO TRADE UNIONS WORKSHOP
On 28 September, Decent Work Regulation in Africa (DWR-Africa) project team members Ms Ithabeleng Duma (Lesotho Research Lead, Maseru) and Professor Debbie Collier (University of Cape Town) organised the DWR-Africa Lesotho Trade Unions Workshop in Maseru.
The event brought together representatives of the project’s key local union partners, from UNITE, IDUL, NACTWU, and LENTSOE LA SECHABA. The workshop discussed the objectives of the DWR-Africa project and how they relate to the priorities and aims of trade unions and workers in Lesotho. The local stakeholders shared their perspectives on recent developments in the garment industry. The participants also considered potential future activities that could combine the needs and priorities of the academic community and stakeholders.
The workshop established common ground towards improved collaboration between research and union partners in Lesotho. It inaugurated a dialogue that is expected to continue in a series of regular meetings to share ideas and experience of labour regulation in Lesotho.
The event is part of a broader series of research/stakeholder activities during 2018 that are centred on working conditions in Lesotho.
AUGUST 2018: CALL FOR APPLICATIONS FOR A FULLY-FUNDED PHD STUDENTSHIP
Closing date: 31 August 2018
Applications are now open for a fully-funded PhD Studentship on Law's Dynamic Effects in South Africa.
The studentship is funded through Durham University's new Global Challenges Research Fund Centre for Doctoral Training.
The studentship is fully funded for three years from February 2019. It covers full payment of fees; a tax-free maintenance grant of £14,777 per year; return travel and visa costs; an allowance to cover research costs and resarch training; and support for an overseas placement.
Funding is available to an overseas candidate based in an OECD DAC list country. Applicants should have an academic background in a relevant subject e.g. law, sociology, geography, industrial relations, social policy) and training or experience in quantitative or qualitative research methods.
Por further details, please click here.
Enquiries are welcome to Professor Deirdre McCann (email@example.com).
JULY 2018: GLOBAL CHALLENGES SUMMIT
Newcastle University, 24 July 2018
Hosted by Durham, Newcastle and Northumbria Universities, the Summit brought together participants from across the world including Herman Mashaba, the Mayor of Johannesburg, Salha Kaitesi, Founder of Beauty of Rwanda, and Peter White, COO of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
Professor McCann called for workers’ rights to be placed at the heart of sustainable development and of efforts to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. She presented a new study by the ESRC/GCRF Network that she leads on Legal Regulation of Unacceptable Forms of Work and her recent work in Southern Africa.
JULY 2018: UFW REPORT 2018
Unacceptable Forms of Work: Global Dialogue/Local Innovation
This report is the product of an international consultation that has involved researchers and policy-makers from 50 research and policy organisations in more than 20 countries across the world. A response to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the report calls for effective labour regulation to secure economic growth and decent work (SDG8).
Unacceptable Forms of Work: Global Dialogue/Local Innovation highlights 10 Global Challenges to effective labour rights. It outlines research agendas that are designed to investigate and respond to each of these Global Challenges by eliminating Unacceptable Forms of Work(UFW).
For further information about the report, please click here.
JUNE 2018: FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE REGIONAL MEETING ON DECENT WORK REGULATION IN AFRICA
University of Cape Town, Graduate School of Business, 18 June 2018
On 18 June 2018, the Network held a Regional Meeting at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business. The Meeting brought together stakeholders from countries across sub-Saharan Africa, including from government Ministries, labour inspectorates, trade unions, employers’ associations, auditors, and retailers.
The Meeting provided the opportunity for a regional dialogue on regulatory strategies that can achieve decent work in the African context. The focus was on the enforcement of labour laws in the garment sector. In particular, participants considered whether involving a range of stakeholders in enforcement - multistakeholders models - can extend the reach of labour standards.
This document outlines the Meeting’s findings and recommendations. It aims to make a useful contribution to the lively debates on effective labour standards, and on decent work in the garment sector, both in Africa and in countries across the world.
To download the document, please click here.
JUNE 2018: REGIONAL MEETING ON DECENT WORK REGULATION IN AFRICA
Decent Work Regulation in Africa aims at establishing a Regional Network of researchers and policy-makers who have an interest in effective labour regulation.
A Regional Meeting of this project was held at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business on 18 June 2018 to bring together participants from the region and international partners. The aim of this meeting was to provide the opportunity for regional and international dialogue on legal strategies that can achieve decent work in Africa, with a particular focus on the garment sector.
For further information about the event, please click here.
APRIL 2018: UFW PROJECT RESEARCH AGENDAS
The ESRC/GCRF Strategic Network on Legal Regulation of Unacceptable Forms of Work has identifed a set of Global Challenges to effective labour regulation. These are the most urgent and complex issues that face lower-income countries in particular in upgrading or eliminating unacceptable forms of work.
Network Teams composed of researchers from a range of discplines and national and international policy actors have produced research agendas to address each Global Challenge.
To download the research agendas, click here.
DECEMBER 2017: WORKSHOP ON GLOBAL CHALLENGES TO EFFECTIVE LABOUR RIGHTS AT DURHAM LAW SCHOOL
A Workshop on Global Challenges to Effective Labour Rights was held at Durham Law School on 8 December 2017. The event gathered researchers and policy-makers from Canada, Lesotho, South Africa, the UK, and the US.
For more information about the event, please click here.
AUGUST & SEPTEMBER 2017: GLOBAL DIALOGUE / LOCAL INNOVATION CONFERENCES: BANGKOK & DURHAM
The ‘Global Dialogue/Local Innovation’ conferences, held in Bangkok and Durham, hosted researchers, policymakers and union members representing a diverse range of nations, including Australia, Korea, Brazil, South Africa, Lesotho, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Cambodia, and the UK. More information here.
JUNE 2017: UNACCEPTABLE FORMS OF WORK: A MULTIDIMENSIONAL MODEL
Unacceptable forms of work (UFW) have been identified as an “area of critical importance” for the ILO as it approaches its centenary. Yet there is currently no comprehensive elaboration of the dimensions, causes or manifestations of UFW.
On this article published in the International Labour Review (Vol. 156, No. 2, 2017), Professor Deirdre McCann and Professor Judy Fudge report on a research project that has proposed such a framework.
The article first investigates and reconceptualizes key discourses on contemporary work to identify their contribution to an analytically rigorous conception of UFW. It then outlines a novel Multidimensional Model that has been designed for use by local policy actors in identifying and targeting UFW in countries across a range of income levels.
To download the article, please click here.
FEBRUARY 2016: ELIMINATING UNACCEPTABLE FORMS OF WORK: A GLOBAL CHALLENGE
JULY 2015: ADDRESSING THE COMPLEX REALITIES OF POST-CRISIS EMPLOYMENT
Following the Regulating for Decent Work conference held at the International Labour Organisation in Geneva (8-10 July 2016), Deirdre McCann comments on the need for robust labour regulation to help deliver decent work.
Read the comment here.
JULY 2015: A GLOBAL DIALOGUE (DURHAM/GENEVA)
Researchers and policy-makers from around the world met in July 2015 to share innovative ways in which Unacceptable Forms of Work are being addressed
Workshops were held in Durham and at the ILO in Geneva, at a Special Session of the Regulating for Decent Work Conference.
DECEMBER 2015: LEGAL REGULATION OF UNACCEPTABLE FORMS OF WORK
The elimination of unacceptable forms of work (UFW) has been identified by the ILO as an area of critical importance for the future of labour regulation.
This research briefing outlines the research project led by Deirdre McCann (Durham University) and Judy Fudge (McMaster University), which has generated a Multidimensional Model for identifying and addressing UFW.
The Model is designed to be globally relevant. It can be used by local researchers and policy-makers to construct models of UFW suited to regional, national, sectoral and occupational settings.
To download the research briefing, please click here.
2015: UNACCEPTABLE FORMS OF WORK: A GLOBAL AND COMPARATIVE STUDY
It compares the concept of UFW to relevant concepts developed by academia and selected international organizations. It also proposes a model to capture the multidimensional nature of unacceptable forms of work in different socio-economic and cultural contexts, and suggests effective approaches to labour market regulation in addressing these forms of work.