Rethinking Post-Rana Plaza Transnational Labour Governance
Western Journal of Legal Studies
This Article critically analyzes a number of innovative initiatives that had been taken to ensure the safety of ready-made garment (RMG) factory workers in Bangladesh and proposes ideas about transnational labour governance. After the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, these transnational safety initiatives (TSIs) offered a promising way to address some of the adverse distributional effects of the globalized forms of production by engaging a myriad of forces, such as the
... rces, such as the International Labour Organization (ILO), the national government, corporate brands/retailers, and international and national trade unions. Despite broad commitments to address an urgent regulatory issue like labour safety, this Article shows how these governance mechanisms, which attempted to link labour governance with trade/economic arrangements, uphold the existing narrow conceptualizations of labour right and labour issues. Utilizing insights from different disciplines, i.e. labour law, human rights and international development, this Article examines how context-based attention to labour's capability enhancement objective would produce a much more compelling governance mechanism at a transnational level. The proposed governance model would accommodate a wider conceptualizations of labour and labour rights, require a stronger form of corporate responsibility, and emphasize labourers' political empowerment. The Article does not discard the necessity of state-based actions and regulations. However, realizing the globalized nature of production and its influence on workers and work conditions, this Article calls for re-thinking the ways labour governance mechanisms are designed in transnational settings. Analyzing the interaction of diverse rules, governance processes and mechanisms with the demands of marginalized forces, i.e. the labourers, this Article attempts to outline a possible alternative to the global hegemony of capital.