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Labor agency in transnational private governance: new regulatory schemes from (old and) new sources of power - Antonella Angelini

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Edinburgh Law School


Thu 4 November 2021

The Edinburgh Centre for International and Global Law presents

Labor agency in transnational private governance: new regulatory schemes from (old and) new sources of power

Dr Antonella Angelini, University of Geneva 


About the seminar
In the face of increasingly dispersed and fragmented value chains, workers, unions, and worker organizations have recently started forging innovative solutions against the concentration of power in the hands of upstream buyers. At the heart of such initiatives is an engagement by unions or other worker organizations with buyer firms to improve labor standards among suppliers. Usually, this engagement finds expression through formal agreements, sometimes coupled with informal instruments. The common element is establishing legally enforceable obligations on the part of the actors throughout the entire supply chain.

While these practices are carving a new space into transnational governance, the theorizing of labor agency therein is at its early stages. Specific case studies have expounded on the power sources—positional, associational, or coalitional—for workers to strike an agreement with buyer firms. The presentation will put this literature in context. More broadly, it will reflect on how workers can use their knowledge of supply chains to bring into view potential alignment of interests among chain constituents and thereby leverage source of power. What regulatory schemes may emerge from this leverage? What may the whole panoply of worker-driven governance initiatives look like in the near feature? Through these questions, the presentation will offer a theoretical and policy-informed contribution to the urgent debate on post-pandemic reform of global labour governance.


Places are strictly limited and registration is required.

Image credit: Photo by Sam Moqadam on Unsplash

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