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The Role of Labour Standards in DevelopmentFrom theory to sustainable practice?$
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Tonia Novitz and David Mangan

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264911

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264911.001.0001

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Corporate social responsibility meets traditional supervision of fundamental labour rights*

Corporate social responsibility meets traditional supervision of fundamental labour rights*

Why CSR needs social dialogue to fill the governance gaps

(p.188) 11 Corporate social responsibility meets traditional supervision of fundamental labour rights*
The Role of Labour Standards in Development

David Tajgman

British Academy

The International Labour Organisation's 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work prioritised four core labour standards' principles and led to a burst of new ratifications of the international treaties that are the subject of those principles. Ten years on there are important identified gaps in state implementation of the ratified Conventions that are the subject of the four principles. These gaps leave important holes in public policy and legislation. In a number of important substantive areas, these gaps have the effect of leaving it to private actors to figure out what would amount to fulfilling the norms of fundamental labour principle inspired codes of conduct. Inescapably left on their own to figure out approaches, corporate social responsibility (CSR)-respecting enterprises are subject to criticism levelled on the basis of interpretations of these principles given by civil society organisations and labour rights' campaigners. This chapter details this situation. The first part provides the necessary background information. The second part gives concrete examples of how this governance gap raises challenges to implementing CSR initiatives. The third part suggests that, considering the arguable origins of CSR in neo-liberal deregulatory fervour, social dialogue and reform by non-compliant state actors is the only sustainable solution.

Keywords:   labour standards, corporate social responsibility, International Labour Organization, governance gap, codes of conduct, private actors, social dialogue, reform

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