The report explores ‘worker-driven social responsibility’ (WSR) as a tool for ensuring decent work for outsourced, subcontracted and offshored workers and questions how it might work in different contexts.
WSR is an exciting new model for tackling labour abuse in supply chains that has demonstrably improved working conditions in a range of contexts, including tomato fields in Florida, dairy farms in New Jersey, and garment factories in Bangladesh and Lesotho. It acts as an antidote to ‘corporate social responsibility’ models that seek to improve workers’ conditions from the top-down, by instead taking the lead from workers and their representative organisations in setting the terms and conditions of employment.
This may sound a lot like collective bargaining – the negotiation of wages and other conditions of employment by an organised group of workers – but what makes WSR different is that it targets companies at the top of supply chains, not direct employers. Instead of negotiating solely with suppliers who are only able to pay workers within the margins of what they are themselves paid, workers and their representatives negotiate directly with the party with the most power in the supply chain, i.e. buyers.
Read the full report here.