Panel Paper: Promotion of Compliance With Decent Labour Standards Through Policy Transfers and Technical Cooperation

Friday, November 8, 2013 : 1:15 PM
Georgetown II (Washington Marriott)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Ludek Rychly, International Labour Organization
Promotion of compliance with decent labour standards through  policy transfers and technical cooperation

In a globalized economy, non-compliance with existing international/national labour standards by many US trade partners represents a serious commercial, but also ethical problem. The roots of this problem are however very prosaic, as they mostly consist of lack of institutional capacity of local authorities (ministries of labour and labour inspection agencies) to enforce existing legislation. Low budgetary allocations, understaffing, poor management, and sometimes lack of political will are largely responsible for inefficiency of local authorities responsible for enforcement of labour laws.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has been recently enhancing its support to ministries of labour in developing countries with the objective to strengthen the capacity of national labour administration to improve compliance with labour legislation. These efforts were focused for example on improving local administrative structures, modernizing management methods or training of local staff (especially inspectors). In a certain number of countries, ILO promoted new methods of inspection through its own authorised inspectors within the Better Work Programme.

The paper will describe challenges of compliance with labour standards as they exist in developing countries and will discuss the methods used to address them through technical cooperation provided by the ILO and funded by US DoL and labour ministries of other developed countries. Most information contained in the paper will come from original ILO sources, mainly national memoranda on needs assessment of labour administration and labour inspection, recently elaborated at the request of governments of many countries, such as El Salvador, Haiti, Lebanon, Lesotho, Kenya, Namibia, Uganda, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Tunisia or Vietnam. The interest in this kind of assistance dramatically increased recently as a consequence of the Arab spring. The paper will analyze both successes and failures of these policy transfers and will discuss lessons learned from recent interventions.

Full Paper: