Thanks to the development of various technologies, the production of goods and the provision of services are not contained within national boundaries. These supply chains, which stretch across the globe, are now the drivers of the global economy.
This course is about the aspirations of the people who work in these supply chains.
Here you will learn about some methods (including those that use the instruments of law) that will give them access to decent work. You will learn about the roles of law and of organised labour in seeking and achieving these objectives. You will also learn about the challenges of securing decent work in today’s supply chains.
Labour law can be found in the statutes passed by legislatures, national constitutions, and in international standards. You will learn about these three sources of labour law and their contents, especially as they apply in the context of Indian workers.
To get closer to the actual realities of workers in supply chains, you will learn about employment relations and work in the supply chains for garments and for sugar. You will learn about the great disparity in power between employers and employees in the agricultural production of cotton and sugarcane, the conditions of seasonal and informal employment of workers, and the absence of any protection from being organised or from the most basic labour laws.
You will also observe the conditions of work higher up the value chain, where some workers remain particularly vulnerable because of their age, gender, caste, and history of migration. In relation to these supply chains, you will learn about wages, working hours and other conditions of work, occupational safety and health, social security, and some issues faced specifically by women workers.
You will then learn about the administrative and judicial framework for resolving grievances related to work, and how a large section of Indian workers do not have access to them. You will learn about non-judicial grievance redressal mechanisms available to workers under international and multi-lateral instruments, and about the difficulties of organising to redress grievances through collective bargaining.
With these, learners can improve their understanding of labour laws, international labour standards, and collective bargaining and also about their application in the context of supply chains.