FLEX research project to explore adaptability of Worker-driven Social Responsibility to new contexts, incl. UK

Author: Meri Åhlberg, Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX), Published on: 8 July 2019

''Putting the power in workers’ hands: FLEX scopes a new approach to tackling labour abuse and exploitation", 4 July 2019

...The ineffectiveness of corporate self-regulation is being compounded by ‘light-touch’ state labour inspection... The more businesses are required to regulate themselves, the less the state regulates businesses. The UK currently has one of the poorest resourced labour inspectorates in Europe...

[C]ompanies can score highly in ethical audits while continuing to enable conditions that drive exploitation. A new model of supply chain regulation, worker-driven social responsibility (WSR), is looking to challenge this system...

...FLEX is now embarking on a research project to understand the adaptability of the [WSR] model to new contexts, including the UK. We will be exploring two key questions: [W]hat would WSR look like in countries or sectors where trade unions are active? Secondly, [w]e will be asking whether there are ways for state labour inspectorates to become involved in a WSR model...

In the coming months we will be... scoping the views of academics, experts experienced in WSR, UK trade unions, state labour inspectorates and businesses... about the potential for WSR to... tackle worker abuse and exploitation, including forced labour and human trafficking...

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