Corporate social responsibility meets traditional supervision of fundamental labour rights*

David Tajgman

in The Role of Labour Standards in Development

Published by British Academy

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780197264911
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754098 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Original Paperbacks

Corporate social responsibility meets traditional supervision of fundamental labour rights*

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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

Chapter.  13577 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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