News and Events
OCTOBER 2020: RETHABILE'S STORY SCREENING AT THE WORKERS UNITE ONLINE FILM FESTIVAL, 8-18 OCTOBER 2020
Rethabile’s Story, the DWR-Africa project’s short film on working life in the Lesotho garment industry, is part of the official selection in the 9th season of the Workers’ Unite Film Festival (WUFF), the largest worker solidarity themed film festival in the United States.
The Festival was originally set to take place in September at Cinema Village in Greenwich Village, one of the oldest continuously operated art cinemas in New York City. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, screenings have been moved to an online format.
The 9th season of WUFF is being hosted at a Virtual Festival Hub on Eventive. Films are available to watch/unlock from 8 October (10am EST) to 18 October 2020 (11.45pm EST). Attendees can purchase single ($7.50), 5-pack ($25) or full passes ($35) and may unlock the selected film or programme one time during the duration of the festival.
WUFF is a celebration of global labour solidarity. It showcases student and professional films from the United States and around the world which publicise and highlight the struggles, successes and daily lives of all workers in their efforts to unite and organise for better living conditions and social justice. Through dozens of documentary screenings, community forums, and interactive events across New York City, the festival provides working people with a platform to tell their stories while leading a movement for meaningful change.
OCTOBER 2020: GLOBAL MULTI-SCALAR DIALOGUE: A NEW MODEL OF STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT
The DWR Project has just published a new Global Multi-Scalar Dialogue Research Brief. The Brief outlines the project’s novel approach to stakeholder engagement, which it has designed and tested since 2017.
This is a global multi-scalar model of research design grounded in dialogue with researchers from multiple disciplines and a wide range of non-academic stakeholders. Rather than centring on a single scalar focus, the model involves intersecting engagement at the international-, regional-, and national-levels.
The research briefing highlights the use of the global multi-scalar model in the project on Decent Work Regulation in Africa (DWR-Africa). This project involved key stakeholders in labour law and policy, including government ministries and agencies, trade unions, employers’ associations, buyers, the International Labour Organization and other United Nations agencies, national development institutes, compliance auditors, international and local NGOs, and industry bodies.
The multi-scalar dialogue generated valuable lessons. Extensive stakeholder consultation revealed research topics that might otherwise have been overlooked. These included issues that are rapidly evolving or neglected in the policy debates e.g. work/life balance as a key concern for workers in the garment sector, concerns about risks encountered beyond the workplace, such as unsafe or unreliable transport, complex intersections of formal and informal work, and the challenges posed by fragmented regulatory frameworks. The global multi-scalar dialogue model also produced significant collaborations and continuing dialogue among stakeholders in the region.
AUGUST 2020: FLAMEVLAK FILMS LDJ PROJECT SHORT FILM ON IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON DOMESTIC WORKERS IN MEXICO CITY
Mexico City filmmaking company Framevlak is collaborating with the Labour Data/Justice (LDJ) Project in a series of short films on domestic workers in Mexico as they go about their daily lives during the COVID-19 crisis.
Led by Dafnis García Damsky, the filmmaking team is interviewing domestic workers in the country’s capital and one of the largest cities in the world, Mexico City. The film is funded by the University of Exeter GCRF Facilitation Fund as part of our collaboration with Dr Arely Cruz-Santiago, and is part of a broader project that is investigating the potential of legal regulation towards UN Sustainable Development Goal 8 – decent work for all, with a particular focus on the digitalisation of working life.
The short film will be made available on our website and social media soon.
AUGUST 2020: CHALLENGES TO EFFECTIVE LABOUR REGULATION IN COVID-19: DOMESTIC WORK IN MEXICO
The research briefing examines the profound shock to labour markets triggered by the pandemic, as well as its effects on domestic workers’ safety and security.
The briefing also evaluates the threat posed by the crisis to recent progress in extending legal rights to domestic workers in Mexico.
By jeopardising decent work, COVID-19 impedes progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The briefing concludes that labour rights remain vital, and that the particular needs of domestic workers need to be considered separately when designing social and labour responses to the crisis.
JULY 2020: ‘HOW TO PROTECT THE WOMEN WHO MAKE OUR CLOTHES? WORKER VOICE IS VITAL IN THE PANDEMIC’, LSE SOCIAL POLICY BLOG
DWR Project members Professor Deirdre McCann, Professor Kelly Pike and Karina Patricio Ferreira Lima have just published a piece in the LSE Social Policy Blog that discusses the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the global garment workforce, with a particular focus on Lesotho.
The blog draws on the research of the DWR-Africa project to explore the need for global cooperation to protect garment workers from the health and safety challenges and economic hardship brought on by the pandemic, including through strengthened worker voice.
The piece assesses the potential of recent international initiatives to support manufacturers and to preserve workers’ incomes, health, and employment. It looks at the Call for Action in the global garment industry that has been adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and endorsed by key signatories and the efforts of Better Work to integrate work/family into policy responses to COVID-19.
JUNE 2020: RETHABILE’S STORY SCREEENING AT THE 10TH ILERA REGIONAL CONGRESS FOR THE AMERICAS, VIRTUAL CONFERENCE, 25 JUNE 2020
Rethabile’s Story, the DWR-Africa project’s short film on life in the Lesotho garment factories, will be screened at the 10th International Labour and Employment Relations Association (ILERA) Regional Congress for the Americas.
The film’s screening will be part of Session D on 25 June 2020, to be held from 10.15-11.45. It will be followed by a Q&A session with DWR-Africa project members Rethabile Ratsiu, Kelly Pike, Deirdre McCann, Nthabeleng Molise, and director Darren Hutchinson.
The ILERA Regional Congress for the Americas will take place from 24-27 June 2020. Hosted by the Canadian Industrial Relations Association (CIRA), this year’s edition of the event will have over 60 conference sessions and over 250 participants.
The congress was originally planned to be held at Ryerson’s University Red Rogers School of Management, Toronto, ON. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, however, it has been redesigned as a virtual conference.
The full programme of the event is available here.
MAY 2020: RETHABILE'S STORY SCREENING AT THE WORKERS UNITE FILM FESTIVAL, NEW YORK, MAY-SEPTEMBER 2020
Rethabile’s Story, the DWR-Africa project’s short film on working life in the Lesotho garment sector, will have its US premiere in 23 May 2020. The documentary has been officially selected for the 9th season of the Workers’ Unite Film Festival (WUFF), the largest worker solidarity themed film festival in the United States.
The WUFF was originally set to take place this month at Cinema Village in Greenwich Village one of the oldest continuously operated art cinemas in New York City. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, this event will be postponed until 25 September 2020.
However, the organisers have selected some of this season's films to stream on the WUFF website ahead of time, with different virtual line-ups in May and July. Rethabile’s Story will be part of the online screening nights, the first of which is planned for 22 May through 25 May 2020.
The WUFF is a celebration of global labour solidarity. It showcases student and professional films from the United States and around the world which publicise and highlight the struggles, successes and daily lives of all workers in their efforts to unite and organise for better living conditions and social justice. The 9th season of the event is poised to be the biggest yet, with over 30 programmes throughout NYC and over 60 films and events.
APRIL 2020: TEMPORAL CASUALISATION AND ‘AVAILABILITY TIME’: MENCAP, UBER AND THE FRAMED FLEXIBILITY MODEL
Professor Deirdre McCann has just published a Temporal Casualisation Report that investigates the UK Court of Appeal decisions in Uber and Mencap, which are being heard by the Supreme Court in 2020. The paper explores what these cases reveal about the regulatory dimensions of temporal casualisation. The paper argues that the cases expose a fracture between, on the one hand, legal frameworks on working time and wages, and on the other hand, a sectoral and gendered treatment of working hours.
The paper highlights the pertinence of Professor McCann's Framed Flexibility Model to conceptualising and regulating working time in these cases, with a particular focus on Mencap. It argues that each of the cases embodies one of the two principal conceptions of working time in labour regulation frameworks: productivity regulation and the unitary approach. By proposing a location-based unitary approach applicable to both working time and wage regulation, the Framed Flexibility Model provides a regulatory model suited to both care workers (Mencap) and private hire drivers (Uber). The paper argues that the Supreme Court should uphold and clarify the Court of Appeal’s decision in Uber and overturn the judgment in Mencap.
Drawing on this research paper, Professor McCann has also published two blogs titled ‘Now That We Care About Carers: Temporal Casualisation in Mencap and Uber’. A lengthier version of the piece is available in Medium, and a shorter one in the Oxford Human Rights Hub.
Professor Deirdre McCann, Principal Investigator of the DWR Project, has been conferred as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. This prestigious award recognises her research, leadership, and impact in the field of labour regulation.
The new Fellows are drawn from academics, practitioners and policymakers across the social sciences. All have been elected on the basis of their outstanding contributions to research and to the application of social science to policy, education, society and the economy.
About the Academy of Social Sciences
The Academy of Social Sciences is the national academy of academics, learned societies and practitioners in the social sciences. Its mission is to promote social science in the United Kingdom for public benefit. The Academy is composed of approximately 1400 individual Fellows, 46 Member Learned Societies, and a number of affiliates. Together, this body of organisations is a community of some 90,000 social scientists. Academy Fellows are leading professional social scientists from academia and the public and private sectors. The Campaign for Social Science is an integral part of the Academy.
MARCH 2020: FRAMED FLEXIBILITY: A NEW MODEL FOR WORKING TIME LAWS
The Decent Work Regulation Project has just published a series of policy briefings on the Framed Flexibility Model, a framework for working time laws that is suited to the contemporary labour markets of the global North and South.
Designed by Deirdre McCann and Jill Murray, the Model responds to an urgent need: to find effective regulatory models for the precarious and informal working relations that are expanding across the advanced industrialised world and have long been characteristic of the South.
These policy briefings outline the principles and sets of standards that underpin the Framed Flexibility Model and provide a Model Lawto illustrate the Model. The Law is designed for the regulation of working time in one of the key forms of informal labour: domestic work.
FEBRUARY 2020: PRESENTATION AT THE WORKSHOP ON ‘GENDER EQUALITY IN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT RESEARCH’, DURHAM UNIVERSITY
On 14th February, the project on Decent Work Regulation participated in the workshop ‘Gender Equality in International Development Research’, organised by Durham University’s Research Development team for academic institutions across the North East.
The workshop guided researchers about the issues they need to consider around Gender Equality when designing International Development projects, and what UKRI’s expectations are in this respect, including guidance on writing Gender Equality statements for GCRF proposals.
Professor Deirdre McCann was invited to share her experience of incorporating gender equality into research on international development. In particular, she presented the project on Decent Work Regulation as a case study with multiple considerations of gender equality in research on labour law in the global South. The presentation included an overview of past projects on Unacceptable Forms of Work and Decent Work Regulation in Africa, along with the new project on Labour/Data Justice for domestic workers in Mexico.
The workshop also included presentations from Dr. Baljinder Bains (International Development Team, Policy Manager at UKRI), Professor Andrew Burton (School of Arts & Cultures, Newcastle University) and Dr. Steve Chivasa (Department of Biosciences, Durham University).
The slides of Professor McCann’s presentation Incorporating Gender into Research.
FEBRUARY 2020: LABOUR/DATA JUSTICE PROJECT NOTE
The DWR Project has just published a Project Note on the Labour/Data Justice (LDJ) Project. The note introduces our new research project on working conditions regulation in the context of the digital transformation of working life.
The LDJ Project is supporting a set of linked research and policy activities towards understanding and improving labour market regulation within the context of ‘digitisation.’
A first phase of the project investigates novel, globally-significant, law-centred initiatives to improve the conditionsof domestic workers in Mexico. The aim is to generate findings and recommendations that can help to shape national and international legal policy on domestic work and the digitisation working life.
Click here to access the download for the LDJ Project Note in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
FEBRUARY 2020: DECENT WORK REGULATION PROJECT NOTE
Just launched: a Project Note that introduces the DWR Project and all of our research activities from 2017-21.
The publication summarises the project’s activities, events, and outputs since it was established through an ESRC/GCRF Strategic Network Grant on Legal Regulation of Unacceptable Forms of Work (UFW) (2017-18). Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), the project established a global network that now includes more than 60 research and policy bodies in 20 countries across the world.
In 2018-19, the DWR Project launched Decent Work Regulation in Africa (DWR-Africa), which established a regional network of researchers and stakeholders in southern Africa, conducted research on challenges to labour law enforcement in the region, and generated recommendations for research and regulatory policy.
In 2019, the DWR Project launched the Labour/Data Justice Project (2019-21), which is focusing on the design and implementation of regulatory frameworks that can improve job quality in the context of the digitisation of working life. A first phase of the project will investigate novel law-centred initiatives to secure decent work for domestic workers in Mexico. The focus is on the rapid digitisation of the sector and the challenges it poses for labour/data justice.
Click here to download the DWR Project Note in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
JANUARY 2020: RETHABILE'S STORY SCREENING AT THE LERA 72ND ANNUAL MEETING, PORTLAND, 13 JUNE 2020
Rethabile’s Story, the DWR-Africa project’s short film on life in the Lesotho garment factories, will be screened at the 72th Annual Meeting of the Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA), the leading labour and employment relations network in the country.
The screening will be part of the symposium is ‘Improving Labor Standards in Global Supply Chains Part II: Trade Unions and Labor Transnationalism’, chaired by Lance Compa (Cornell University). Rethabile’s Story will set the scene for a presentation by project member Kelly Pike (York University, Canada) on challenges to the regulation of decent work in Africa and the DWR-Africa project.
Christopher Raymond (Cornell University) will also present on Labor Transnationalism and Horizontal Solidarities in the Bangladeshi Garment Industry. Elizabeth A. Bennett (Lewis & Clark College) will act as a discussant in the session.
The LERA 72th Annual Meeting will take place from 13-16 June 2020. It was originally to be held at the Hilton Portland Downtown, Portland, OR. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, however, it has been redesigned as a virtual conference. The event will include over 80 workshops and sessions and the participation of more than 350 presenters from every community focused on ‘the world of work’.