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Durham University

Durham Law: Policy Engagement

Publications

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.


FEBRUARY 2019: A STRATEGIC APPROACH TO REGULATING UNACCEPTABLE FORMS OF WORK, Journal of Law and Society

An article by Professor Deirdre McCann (Durham University, UK) and Professor Judy Fudge (McMaster University, Canada) has just been published in the 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 lowÔÇÉincome 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 WorkInternational 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: GLOBAL DIALOGUE/LOCAL INNOVATION: LABOR REGULATION AS A PATHWAY TO ACHIEVING THE SDGS

On 12 February, Dr Arely Cruz-Santiago published a guest article for the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) SDG Knowledge Hub.

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: 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: 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.

To download the document, please click here.


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.


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.

In response to this call, a submission has been made by Professor Deirdre McCann, Principal Investigator of the project on Decent Work Regulation.

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.


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 associated with - the garment sector.

To download the document, click here.


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 on Decent Work Regulation has been made for the forthcoming visit to the UK of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights (5 to 16 November 2018).

The submission - by Professor Deirdre McCann of Durham Law School, Principal Investigator of the Decent Work Regulation project - highlights the intersection of poverty and labour rights and the need for effective labour regulation in the UK.

The submission highlights the growth of highly casualised jobs in the UK in recent years, which are subjecting an element of the working population to highly variable and unpredictable incomes and can be considered unacceptable forms of work.

The submission concludes that it is essential to find new solutions to protect casual workers and to avert the risk of poverty. More effective interventions would include ‘framed flexibility’ mechanisms e.g. the prohibition of casual work in vulnerable sectors/occupations; notice of schedules and overtime; incentives for continuous hours; compensation for short call-out periods; and the requirement that in-shift travel periods be counted as working time (on the ‘framed flexibility’ model, see further Deirdre McCann and Jill Murray Prompting Formalisation Through Labour Market Regulation 2014 Industrial Law Journal).

To download the submission, please click here. The full set of submissions by UK academics and civil society organisations is available here.


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.


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, please click 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.



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

This research study conducted by Professor Judy Fudge and Professor Deirdre McCann defines Unacceptable Forms of Work (UFW) and the various ways in which it is manifested.

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.

Unacceptable Forms of Work: A Global and Comparative Study (English)

Unacceptable Forms of Work: A Global and Comparative Study (French)

Unacceptable Forms of Work: A Global and Comparative Study (Spanish)