Extending Labour Inspections to the Informal Sector and Agriculture
Labour inspections could, in theory, improve labour standards and help countries move towards decent work goals and the elimination of chronic poverty. But, in practice, inspections are either not conducted or do not result in penalties for those who break the law. Using the case of India, and examining labour contracts and standards in selected informal agricultural and non-agricultural occupations, the author identifies the reasons for this state of affairs: corrupt and under-resourced labour departments; subcontracting arrangements where employerâ€“employee relationships are difficult to prove; little political commitment to improving labour standards; and poor coverage of new categories of work by existing labour laws. The paper also documents how, in the absence of an effective labour inspection machinery, civil society organisations and the media have successfully mobilised consumers and NGOs in the West to put pressure on suppliers in global value chains to improve labour standards and eliminate child labour. [Working Paper No. 154]
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