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Durham University

Durham Law: Policy Engagement

Regional Meeting on Decent Work Regulation in Africa

University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business, 18 June 2018

As part of the project on Decent Work Regulation in Africa, a Regional Meeting was held in the Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, on 18 June 2018.

The Meeting brought together government and international officials, employers, practitioners, and trade unionists from Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland, and Tanzania. They were joined by researchers from the partner universities: Durham University (UK), the University of Cape Town (South Africa) and York University (Canada).

The objective of the Regional Meeting was to gain insights from African stakeholders to guide future research and policy. The key question was how regulation can support decent work and development in Africa, with a particular focus on labour rights in the garment sector.


Professor Deirdre McCann (Durham University) outlined the project.

She highlighted that effective enforcement is among the most pressing and complex global challenges to effectively ensuring labour rights. The aim of the Regional Meeting was to allow researchers and stakeholders to share experience and to identify crucial research and policy needs for responding to this challenge.

Professor McCann’s presentation slides are available here.

Session 1: Decent Work Regulation in Context: Trade, Development, Labour Regulation

The objective of the Session was to situate the discussion of effective regulation in Africa within the global, trade and socio-economic contexts.

The panellists were Mr Mark Bennett (Independent Consultant, South Africa); Mr Girma Tafere Kebede (Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute); Mr Limpho Mandoro (International Labour Organization, Pretoria); and Ms Margaret Shapiro (Social Capital Consulting, South Africa).

Mr Mandoro's presentation slides are available here.

Session 2: Decent Work Regulation in Southern Africa

Session 2 reviewed the contemporary debates on effective regulation in the region and presented the Decent Work Regulation in Africa pilot research.

The presenters were Dr Debbie Collier (University of Cape Town), who gave a talk on ‘Lessons from Law Reform in Lesotho’; and Dr Shane Godfrey (University of Cape Town) and Professor Kelly Pike (York University), who presented their research on ‘Enforcing Labour Laws in Southern Africa: A Pilot Project.’

The presentations covered the challenges of reforming labour legislation; the evolving role of multi-stakeholder models in the enforcement of labour standards; and the DWR-Africa pilot research in Southern Africa, which is investigating effective enforcement of labour standards in the garment sectors in South Africa and Lesotho.

Feedback was provided from the stakeholders on the Pilot Project and on future research directions.

Presentation slides:

Lessons from Law Reform in Lesotho: Dr Debbie Collier, University of Cape Town

Labour Standards Enforcement in South Africa: An Overview: Dr Shane Godfrey, University of Cape Town

Enforcing Labour Laws in Southern Africa: A Pilot Project. The case of Lesotho: Professor Kelly Pike, York University, Toronto

Session 3: Lessons from Africa for Future Research and Policy

The objective of Session 3 was to derive lessons for research and policy activities towards strengthening labour laws for decent work and development.

The panellists were Belinda Edmonds (African Cotton and Textile Industries Federation); Simon Eppel (Southern African Clothing and Textiles Union); Mamohale Matsoso (Labour Commissioner, Lesotho); Nthabeleng Molise (Remmoho Compliance Solutions, Lesotho); and Andrew Salm (Gatsby Africa Textile Development Unit, Tanzania).

The panellists shared their key suggestions on future research/policy based on their experience in countries across the region.

Session 4: Outcomes and Future Research/Policy

The final Session presented a summary of the day's discussions. The presentation was followed by an open-floor in which all participants had the opportunity to provide feedback. The participants then agreed upon a statement of Findings and Recommendations.

The Session was chaired by Professor Deirdre McCann (Durham University) and the findings and conclusions were presented by Dr Arely Cruz-Santiago (Durham University) and Ms Karina Patricio Ferreira Lima (Durham University).

The Meeting Findings and Recommendations can be found here.


Further information and key documents of the Regional Meeting:


List of Participants

DWR-Africa Regional Meeting Findings and Recommendations