The Evolution of a Global Labor Governance Regime
During the last decade, the approach by businesses and governments toward labor and social issues at the global level has fundamentally changed. Industrial relations are rapidly internationalizing by developing new actors and forms of governance to deal with the regulation of labor. This article looks at the evolution of self-regulatory standards in the global labor governance debate. Key is that notwithstanding problems with the lacking legal framework of global regulation and enforceability, patterns of local self-regulation, norm-setting, and international codes lead not only to higher expectations of the behavior of transnationally operating firms but also to an indirect pattern of regulation. The article argues that particularly the adoption of the core labor standards by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the setup of the Global Compact by the UN serve as points of convergence. A plethora of voluntarist initiatives that converge over time toward a shared understanding of labor standards is part of the transformation of global labor governance institutions.