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3-5 July 2017
International Labour Office (ILO)
Europe/Berlin timezone

Scientific Programme

The world of work is undergoing novel and rapid changes that will endure and potentially intensify. Driven by massive and continuous technological changes and globalization, the world economy has generated prosperity, yet also vast unemployment and underemployment, strikingly among the young; and global economic growth has yet to return to pre-crisis levels. Disparities in the global workforce remain striking and are reflected in trends that include the lower participation rates and wages of women; large numbers who continue to work in extreme poverty, particularly in low-income countries; growing migration for work; and an urgent need to ensure decent care for a rapidly expanding older population. Yet in responding to these challenges, policy-makers confront novel features of working life and governance: the urgent need to secure employment-led paths to economic development; intensifying downward pressures on working conditions and the challenges of establishing floors of minimum social protection and labour conditions; the internationalization of production through Global Value Chains (GVCs); and the sustained presence of informal work, including through new forms of contracting for waged labour. To respond effectively to these new and lasting challenges, the United Nation’s International Labour Organisation (ILO) has launched a Future of Work Initiative as a global process of reflection on the future of 1 working life. An element of activities to mark the ILO’s centenary in 2019, the Future of Work Initiative is helping to guide the ILO’s efforts towards social justice as the Organization enters its second centenary. The ILO is inviting the global research community to be involved in this process. The fourth RDW Conference in 2015 identified and examined key dimensions of the future of work. The 2017 Conference will continue to pursue this theme, with a focus on identifying potential policy and regulatory responses. We therefore invite papers that will generate new ideas and policies to help the global community to shape a better future at work. The papers for RDW2017 are expected to centre on the ILO’s four Centenary Conversations: (i) work and society; (ii) decent work for all; (iii) the organization of work and production; and (iv) the governance of work (see Conference Tracks below). The overarching aim of the Conference is to provide concrete guidance for the future activities of the ILO. It therefore offer participants the opportunity to influence global policy. RDW2017 will be held in the International Labour Office, Geneva, from 3-5 July 2017. Researchers from all regions are welcome and from all pertinent disciplines including economics, law, industrial relations, geography, human resources, and development studies.
  • Track I. Work and society
    Track I explores the changing interaction between work and society. Paid work serves a key economic function, enabling people to meet the material needs of themselves and their families so as to participate actively in society. More broadly, work can be a key site of social connection, and, where it occurs in decent conditions, a positive aspect of individual identity. However, the ongoing transformation of work, employment and the labour market is reconfiguring the relationship between work and society. While new forms of work open up improved economic and social opportunities for those with the relevant skills, they also risk leaving many people impoverished and excluded. Blurring boundaries between work and private life may allow some to better balance work and family, yet others continue to struggle with the unequal distribution of unpaid work, including care work, which remains among the key drivers of inequality. Papers in this track will address the transformation of the work/society relationship through one or more distinct disciplinary perspective(s) (economic, political, sociological, psychological, and so on). While all papers on this topic are welcome, there are several issues that the Track I sessions will seek to address: The work/life relationship: What are the implications of the blurring of boundaries between work and private life (including through the use of technology to extend work interactions beyond the physical workplace), and what are its effects on paid and unpaid work, and on work-family balance? The social aspects of work: What are the implications of new forms of work on the social aspects of work, considering that some new forms risk leaving individuals isolated, insecure and alienated, while other forms promote greater individual autonomy and participation? How can the relationship between work and society be moulded in a way that opens up economic and social opportunities for all? Education and learning: How can changes in skill requirements be addressed so that individuals, especially the most disadvantaged, can benefit from new labour market conditions? How to tackle the challenge of collecting reliable information on the demand for skills and the capacity of education and training systems to educate for these skills? Social protection systems: How can social protection systems respond to profound changes in the labour market and in society, and how can they facilitate structural transformation and inclusive development? How can social protection systems adapt to the requirements of changing employment patterns, and ensure coverage for all and adequate levels of protection? What is the role of social protection in promoting the transition from the informal to the formal economy? How can social protection systems address the extent and distribution of unpaid care work and support its reduction and redistribution? Renewing the social contract: In view of the evolving role of work and employment in society, whether and how can the social contract be renewed to foster more equitable societies and a fairer distribution of resources? What are the implications for economic, social and fiscal policies?
  • Track II. Decent jobs for all: new jobs for the future and their nature
    As labour markets around the globe recover, albeit slowly, from the deepest crisis of the past few decades, new challenges are creating potential constraints for the world of work today and in the future. Technological change, globalisation of production and consumption, aging societies and a shift in population growth from developed to emerging and developing countries, along with heightened environmental risks, create new challenges for the world of work. Global unemployment remains stubbornly high, especially for young people. Labour income shares continue to decline. Non-standard forms of employment are on the rise, and wage employment has lost momentum, with self-employment and informality spreading even in advanced industrialised economies. Rent-seeking by special interest groups has further contributed to an inequitable growth in earnings and decent jobs. Furthermore, jobs are not necessarily where workers are, and rising inequalities have created incentives for workers to migrate. In turn, migration has highlighted issues of access to labour markets and the need for a better connection between education systems and business models. This objective of this Track is twofold: Firstly, it promotes a better understanding of the sources of new jobs for full employment. How can the still large jobs gap resulting from the crisis be closed, and new employment be generated for the 40 million young workers who will enter the labour market every year over the next decade? Which sectors, industries and occupations are likely to expand and what can policy makers do to help the transition of workers into these new jobs? What will it take to realize the potential of the green economy? Ageing societies have special needs in terms of investment and consumption that can be a motor for job creation - what is the jobs potential of ageing societies? How can progress in reducing working poverty be accelerated to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030? Secondly, the Track reflects on innovative methods of generating equitable access to available work and of compensating it fairly. For example, what policies need to be pursued so that education and training systems continue to improve their capacity to anticipate and respond to skill needs? What measures need to be taken with a view to meaningfully recognising the skills of migrant workers? What are the linkages with, and implications for, human mobility in this regard? How do we address labour market segmentation along gender and ethno-national lines when it becomes difficult to implement non-discrimination standards for lack of a comparator? To what extent can and should unpaid work be transformed into remunerated occupations in personal care services or have a more gender-balanced distribution? Would social economy approaches suit the needs of ageing societies better than the existing economic models?
  • Track III. The organization of work and production: challenges for decent work
    In an increasingly globalised economy, technological advancement and competitiveness are bringing forth rapid changes in the organization of work and production. Geographical fragmentation and the expansion of global supply chains have meant that multiple enterprises are involved in the production of goods and services, with work diffused through a network of entities and individuals, and blurred lines of responsibility. In addition, regulatory gaps and changes in labour regulations as well as other tax and social policies, have also contributed to the growth of “non-standard” forms of work, including triangular employment relationships, disguised and dependent self-employment, and “on-call” work. These developments have weakened the labour standards of core workers as well as contributing to a growing ‘informalization’ of the labour market. While some organizational changes have brought benefits to businesses, in terms of costsaving and greater efficiency, they pose challenges to existing business models and, most importantly, to the social protection and labour rights of workers, as they often circumvent the existing regulatory framework, operating in some instances in an unregulated environment. Coupled with limited laws and regulations governing the responsibility of general contractors for sub-contractors, crowd-work, triangular employment relationships or dependent self-employment, the end result is an increase in insecure work. Thus the changes in the organization of production risks undermining the employer-employee working relationships that form the basis of international labour standards and national labour laws, with profound consequences for social justice. Track III will address the challenges that shifting organizational practices pose for the world of work, with a view to devising policy responses. Papers addressing the following questions are welcome: What are the implications of the changing organisation of work and production on working conditions, intensity of work, worker well-being and work-family balance? How can income security for workers be ensured as work and production become increasingly fragmented? What mechanisms are needed to ensure employer-responsibility across global supply chains? What kind of policies and institutions are needed to ensure that workers have sufficient labour income and social security coverage? How do we establish fair pay and regular work and working time within fragmented and globally-dispersed labour markets? What is the impact of the changing organisation of work and production on the incidence of homebased work? What policies are needed to ensure that home-based workers have sufficient labour protection? How can existing unions and new forms of organisation help in promoting the welfare of precarious workers and protecting their rights’?
  • Track IV. The governance of work: labour regulation’s complex future
    As the global economy rapidly evolves, the question of law’s response has become both vital and complex. Legal regulation is a crucial component of effective policies towards socially just development. Yet the array of challenges captured in the Future of Work initiative are accompanied by complexities in securing effective legal regulation. These challenges - which are also crucial research questions for the interdisciplinary study of legal regulation - include: the role of labour law in employment creation; the enduring challenge of effective enforcement, in particular in financially-constrained states; the expansion of ‘non-standard’ forms of employment, including through the rise of the ‘gig economy’; the destabilising of once-secure rights through vocal challenges to tripartism, collective bargaining, and the right to strike; the myriad modes through which working relations evade regulatory regimes, particularly in the global South, that are captured in the notion of the ‘informal economy’; the impact of austerity policies on worker protections and job quality; the challenge of effectively measuring and comparing the impact of regulatory regimes; the relationship between CSR initiatives and state-led interventions in the regulation of Global Supply Chains; and the most effective role and form of transnational standards, including those that emanate from the ILO. Track IV will reflect on these crucial questions. The aim is to propose an agenda for the future regulation of the global economy as a contribution to the ILO’s Future of Work initiative. Papers are therefore expected to be policy-oriented in an expansive sense, by either proposing strategies and mechanisms to regulate modern labour or empirically evaluating existing regulatory frameworks.
  • Special session 1. Better Work in Global Supply Chains: implications for the future of work
    Harnessing labour regulation to achieve decent work alongside competitiveness in a changing world characterised by transnational employment relations in global supply chains (GSCs) is a critical question for analysis and policy. Given the importance of this issue, Special Sessions with a focus on labour in GSCs and on the Better Work programme (a joint ILO-IFC initiative) have featured in the Regulating for Decent Work Conferences since its inception in 2009. Each session has explored different dimensions, sectors and country case studies in GSCs research. At the 2017 Conference, the GSCs RDW Session will focus on two core issues: The specific opportunities and challenges for decent work and inclusive growth created in labourintensive global supply chains, including lessons learned for policy and practice from the empirical experience of the Better Work programme; Examining the dynamic transformations of GSCs in their structure, geographical location and operation as well as the implications (now and in the future) for workers, government and employers. The choice of this dual focus arises in the context of two important events for the ILO - the Centenary Initiative on the Future of Work and the General Discussion on Decent Work in Global Supply Chains held during the International Labour Conference in June 2016, which produced a renewed mandate for the Organization to play a pivotal role in ensuring decent work in GSCs. In this light, papers in this Special Session will address research questions related to decent work in GSCs, such as: Empirically-driven contributions to understanding the implications of jobs in GSCs for workers’ lives beyond the workplace: How has the Better Work programme affected workers’ families and communities? What are the impacts of quality jobs in global supply chains on changing societal norms? Analyses of decent work dimensions of jobs in GSCs: What do jobs in GSCs mean for workers in terms of wages, health services, and voice and empowerment? What is the outlook for the sustainability of changes brought about by Better Work? More broadly, what policies and practices can ensure that global supply chains deliver on their potential? The changing nature of the organization of work and production: What are the recent transformations taking place in GSCs and how do they affect work and production patterns now and in the future? How do GSC interventions such as Better Work influence firm behaviour and strategy and impact productivity? How can changes in the organization of work and production stimulate a move from a ‘low road’ to a ‘high road’ to development? How can lessons from Better Work translate in other labour intensive supply chains? Governance opportunities and challenges in GSCs: What global governance mechanisms and configurations can deliver win-win scenarios for workers, suppliers and brands alike in GSCs? How is the ILO positioned as a global governance actor in GSCs in the aftermath of the ILC 2016 General Discussion? How can greater synergies and coherence be built between different governance initiatives in the public, private and social spheres? Which governance approaches, such as Better Work, have shed light on work outcomes in global supply chains?
  • Special session 2. The future of globalization and decent work in Asia
    The advent of globalization creates new opportunities for economic growth of some developing countries. However, there is enduring concern about the impact of globalization on works and workers. The internationalization of production through global supply chains (GSCs) has triggered significant changes in the quality of jobs and in labour relations in Asian countries. While some point to the positive impacts of globalization on labour, others argue that globalization centres exclusively on the use of low-skilled workers and maximizing labour cost-savings. Given these conflicting views, this RDW Session will support an open discussion on the future of globalization and its contribution to decent work, particularly in Asian countries. The policy areas for discussion will include the freedom of association and the right to effective collective bargaining, the abolition of child labour and forced labour, the promotion of non-discrimination and equality, occupational safety and health and working time arrangements, as well as the need for effectivelystructured minimum wage regulation and effective wage protection measures that can shield workers and their families from income insecurity.
  • Special session 3. Unacceptable Forms of Work (UFW): global dialogue/local innovation
    The International Labour Organization (ILO) has called for workers to be protected from unacceptable forms of work (UFW): jobs that “deny fundamental principles and rights at work, put at risk the lives, health, freedom, human dignity and security of workers or keep households in conditions of extreme poverty.” This policy agenda responds to growing awareness that an expanding segment of the global workforce is in insecure, detrimental and low paid labour, and that historically-disadvantaged groups, including women, migrant workers, working class communities, and ethnic minorities, are disproportionately found in precarious jobs. The growth in UFW contributes to the rising inequality that has galvanised contemporary debates on economic life. Yet the policy and regulatory strategies that can effectively eliminate UFW have not yet been identified. The project on Legal Regulation of Unacceptable Forms of Work responds to the urgent need to combat UFW. Phase I of the project generated a Multidimensional Model that (1) identifies the dimensions of UFW (2) empowers local actors to determine priorities and (3) proposes strategic regulatory responses with substantial and systems-wide effects (Fudge and McCann Unacceptable Forms of Work ILO 2015). Phase II of the project, the subject of the RDW Session, will investigate legal initiatives on UFW in a number of countries, including by empirically testing the Multidimensional Model, to derive insights on effective regulation. An interdisciplinary and impact-centred project, it brings together scholars and policy-makers with the aim of generating meaningful reforms in the design and implementation of domestic and international laws that can reach the most disadvantaged in the global workforce.
  • Organized session 1: Migration and Work
    "The relationship between migration and work has been transformed in recent decades, most notably through growth of temporary and employer-sponsored visa schemes, the introduction and expansion of cross-border labour mobility zones, and a geographical shift in the main sources and destinations of migration. These changes have produced major political challenges with policymakers struggling to balance the perceived disruptive impacts of labour migration with the potential economic benefits. Despite evidence of international convergence in industrial relations and other areas of labour market policy, there are differences in the national regulation of labour immigration. For example, diverse regulatory approaches are evident in relation to the workplace rights of undocumented and other migrant workers. There are distinct selection policies for different categories of labour migration, such as higher-skilled compared to lower-skilled, temporary compared to permanent and employer-sponsored compared to non-sponsored. Free movement of labour in the European Union and labour mobility provisions in free trade agreements have created transient workforces with implications for worker rights, employer practices and local labour markets. At the same time, there are important distinctions between the intentions versus the outcomes of labour immigration policies. For example, visa regulations are focused on workers that enter the receiving country through ‘front doors’ or dedicated labour migration schemes, However, in many countries there has been gradual opening of ‘side door’ visa schemes that fall outside of the formal scope of official labour immigration policy, such as visas for students with limited work rights, as well as ‘back doors’ for unauthorised migrants without any right to work. The distinction between primary and secondary immigration and gendered dimensions of immigration policy are also important, particularly given the lack of research on the working experience and labour market impact of partners who accompany migrant workers. While many governments seek to encourage immigration to address labour market needs, migrant workers are commonly among the most vulnerable workforce groups. However, the labour market impact of immigration and the workforce experiences of migrants diverge, depending on their skills, employment and migration regulations and institutional arrangements, and the strategies of unions and other representative groups for organising, protecting and mobilising migrant workers. There are new developments in migrant worker representation. The traditional restrictive positions of trade unions towards immigration in many countries have shifted in recent years towards more inclusive approaches. However, the capacity of unions to organise and represent migrant workers, particularly in low-wage sectors, has been tested, with new forms of non-traditional collective representation emerging in the form of worker centres and community organisations. This symposium on ‘Migration and Work’ includes papers on the experience of migrants in the labour market, the impact of migration on managerial practices and the labour market, and the influence of institutions and regulations in shaping these outcomes. The papers aim to advance academic insights and theory in relation to several key themes including: the legal and regulatory dimensions of labour migration; the role and responses of institutions particularly in relation to the relationship between labour market, skills and social policy, on one hand, and migrant workers, on the other; the function of firms, intermediaries and managerial practices in the labour migration process; international comparisons; and the gendered dimensions of migration. "
  • Organized session 2: Decent Work in Agricultural Production Systems: An Interdisciplinary Approach
    "Proposal for a Special Session Decent Work in Agricultural Production Systems: An Interdisciplinary Approach The decent work deficit is exceptionally large in agriculture. It pertains to smallholders, landless laborers and workers in processing and retailing. Economic upgrading seems to be not sufficient for better working conditions. The elimination of the decent work deficit requires strategies of social upgrading. But how can one achieve social upgrading given the challenges of asymmetric power relations on different political scales as well as a widespread lack of skills for dealing with the requirements of increasingly global supply chains? The Special Session will address this question from an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective: economics, gender studies, management, political science and sociology with experiences from India and Pakistan. The following persons have signaled their interest to participate: • Dr. Saira Akhtar, Associate Professor, Department of Rural Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Agriculture Faisalabad o Topic: Women in agriculture – Lack of Access to Assets. The decent work deficit for women in agriculture is especially pronounced. One major factor is the traditional gender regime which is denying women access to important resources. The paper identifies the access barriers, shows their impact and explores strategies for overcoming the barriers. • Dr. Mubashir Mehdi, Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Management, Institute of Business Management Sciences, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan University of Faisalabad o Topic: Challenges of Linking Farmers to Markets The paper proposes a “whole chain” to improve the competiveness of the rural enterprises within global production systems. The rural development approach, which was previously focused on improving the productive capacity of rural producers in isolation, needs to be revisited in a more holistic way to emphasize the interdependency of the on-farm activities and those further downstream in the marketing system. The rural development approach therefore has to be conceptualized as “learning and innovation network” which holds production challenges “inside” to the rural areas with opportunities “outside” in the external environment or “marketing”. • Dr. Meenakshi Rajeev, Professor, Center for Economic Studies and Policy, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore, India o Topic: Decency of Primary Occupations in Fisheries Sector in India Presence of a large network of intermediaries in the value chain of the fisheries sector reduces the share of the pie of its primary workers, i.e. the fishermen. This puts at risk the ability of the industry to provide even basic sustenance to the fishermen. Low levels of remuneration and work quality may reduce productivity and disallow labor from being in adequate supply to the industry in the future. The paper assesses these conditions through the use of ILO indicators using the data from the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) of India. • Dr. Debdulal Saha, Assistant Professor, Labour Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati Campus, Assam, India o Topic: Victims of Cartelization: Small Tea Growers Next to the traditional large tea plantation, small “tea gardens” have been established in many areas of Eastern India. The tea plantation workers are the lowest paid in the plantation sector. Based on extensive field work, the paper assesses the power relations in the tea value chain. It shows that cartelization of buyers in the auctions do not allow tea prices to rise even though there may be high demand. Chair and Discussant: Dr. Christoph Scherrer, Professor of globalization and politics, Executive Director of the International Center for Development and Decent Work at the University of Kassel Correspondence: scherrer@uni-kassel.de "
  • Organized session 3: Decent Work and Global Industrial Relations
    "Submission of Proposal for Special Session. Name of the Session: “Decent Work and Global Industrial Relations”. Time: 90 min Number of presentations/panelists: 4 Countries of origin: Cambodia, Portugal, Italy, Sweden. Moderator/Chair; Dr. Vincenzo Pietrogiovanni, Senior Lecturer, Lund University, Sweden. Special Session Introduction This proposed Special Session is construed around recent developments in industrial relation and labour regulation and combines a global perspective with national reflections from countries in different stages of industrial development, (Cambodia, Portugal, Italy and Sweden) with a regional perspective from the EU. A general, common thread is the strife for developing, improving, maintaining or adjusting industrial relations models in order to reflect the increasing globalized labour market yet providing adequate and decent work for both core and peripheral workers across the Globe. While globalization over the past decades has developed into a significant aspect of most sectors of industry and multinational companies have established global, but yet primarily internal, corporate social responsibility regimes, major aspects of industrial relation, collective bargaining and labour legislation and, not least, the implementation and enforcement of such regulation still fail to reach beyond the national borders. Even within the EU, cross-border industrial relations – and indeed basic cross-border labour legislation – remain premature. The panel explores, based on a labour law and industrial relations perspectives, recent development in the field. While the call for decent work is Global, the paths towards – or away from – such work differs between different parts of the world and the panel presents perspectives and recommendations corresponds to this variety. The diversity within the panel, from Cambodia to Sweden, reflects different aspects of enforcement of regulation for strengthening decent work. The decline or decrease of labour rights in parts of (southern) Europe after the financial crisis, and the pressure on European industrial relations models, are discussed in relation to the limited emergence of Southeast Asian collective partners in the example of Cambodia. While the Scandinavian models still provides significant labour protection for core workers, but less so peripheral workers, the dismantling of collective and individual rights in Southern Europe fail to secure general support for decent work more generally. The Cambodian situation, supported by the ILO Better Factory Cambodia (BFC), is currently less-protective due to the lack of adequate national industrial relations and transparent legal institutions. Labour reforms, corporate focus on global labour rights in producing countries and the emerging aspect of global industrial relation is likely to affect all these different national situations, mainly the Cambodian, but most likely the Scandinavian and South European as well. "
  • Organized session 4: Social Protection and Human Rights
    "Background Social protection is one of the four pillars of decent work and a key determinant of social development and wellbeing. In combination with their inclusion in the SDGs, social protection systems will be most likely to deliver on their transformative potential if they have solid foundations in human rights. And indeed, under international human rights law, states are legally obligated to establish social protection systems and to apply a human-rights-based approach (HRBA) in all phases of policy making and programming. Objectives This session will present experiences of applying a HBRA in the design and implementation of social protection policies in different country and regional contexts. It aims to raise awareness of researchers, policy makers and international organizations on the need and practical ways to ground social protection and labour policies in human rights, and it seeks to deepen the knowledge on the linkages between social protection and human rights through concrete empirical studies. Presenters will focus on the potential of a HRBA to social protection and new emerging issues related to the future of work; gender equality and the rights of women and girls in social protection systems related to care; the challenges of integrating a HRBA to migrant policy in contexts where migration is largely managed on the basis of economic and political interests of host countries; experiences with a HRBA to social protection in recent Asian reforms; and how to include persons with disability into social protection systems. The special session is in relation with the web-based platform socialprotection-humanrights.org, which has been designed to provide expert legal and development resources on how to better align social protection and human rights. "
  • Organized session 5: On-call work and related forms of casual employment in developed economies
    "This special session is on the rise in the use of on-call work and related forms of casual employment in developed economies over the past decades, and its implications for workers. It will begin with an introduction providing the context of these studies and explaining how on-call work overlaps with part-time work and casual work. Abigail Adams and Jeremy Prassl will focus on the most well-known form of on-call work: zero-hours contracts as they are used in the United Kingdom. Michelle O’Sullivan (name to be confirmed) will then present the report A Study on the Prevalence of Zero Hours Contracts among Irish Employers and their Impact on Employees, published by the University of Limmerick. This study shows that zero-hours contracts are regulated in Ireland and that (as a consequence?) firms tend to use alternative forms of employment, the so-called “if and when” contracts. The third presentation, by Iain Campbell, will focus on recent developments in the use and regulation of zero-hours contracts in New Zealand and address similar forms of casual work in Australia. The fourth presentation, by Elaine McCrate, will cover just-in-time scheduling practices and other forms of on-call employment in the United States. Finally, Susanne Burri will address the use and regulation of on-call work in the Netherlands. The latter example is of particular interest: although the country is well known for its good quality part-time work, part of its workforce is engaged in employer-oriented flexible arrangements such as zero-hours or min-max contracts that will be discussed during the presentation. Given that there are five presentations, this may need to be organized as two successive sessions. "
  • Organized session 6: Flexible Work Arrangements and Their Effects on the World of Work
    "This proposed special session considers different forms of flexible work arrangements and their effects on the world of work. The papers presented at the session will focus on themes from both Track I (Work and society) and Track III (The organization of work and production). In particular, they will address the work-life relationship, such as the blurring of boundaries between work and private life and its effects on work-life balance, and the implications of changing organization of work and production on working conditions and worker well-being. Brief abstracts of the three papers to be presented during this session are presented below. The first paper examines the effects of flexible working, particularly flexi-time arrangements, in the United Kingdom. Despite the large number of studies that examine the consequences of flexible working, rarely do these studies examine whether there are differences across different groups of workers in the consequences. Previous studies have shown that for men flexible work arrangements may lead to increased working hours and spill-over, while this may not be the case for women. However, this discrepancy may mostly be due to the care demand context the worker is in; therefore, care/family context may be more important. This paper uses the data from the UK’s Work Employment Relations Survey 2011 to examine whether flexible working can influence the work-family conflict of workers, and how this relationship varies depending on the gender and family/care context. The second paper reviews part-time work and its effects (NOTE: The focus is on regular part-time work to avoid overlaps with the session on ""on call"" work proposed by Janine Berg). While part-time work can be a means to bolster labour market participation–by allowing workers to better reconcile paid work with other personal obligations–it is also associated with significant inequalities. Notably, it can result in poorer job quality, career prospects, access to social protection, and wage rates–i.e. the “part-time pay penalty”. These inequalities disproportionately affect women–who make up the 57 per cent of part-time workers globally (ILO, 2016)–relegating them to a disadvantaged position in the labour force and in society. This paper surveys current trends in part-time work in developed and developing countries; examines their drivers and effects on working conditions and equality; and makes a number of policy recommendations to reduce the inequalities and facilitate the transition between part-time and full-time work. The third paper considers the effects of telework/ICT-mobile work (T/ICTM) on the world of work. T/ICTM can be defined as the use of ICTs to perform work outside the employer’s premises. New information and communications technologies, such as smartphones and tablet computers, have revolutionized work and life in the 21st Century. The constant connectivity enabled by these devices allows work to be performed at any time and from almost anywhere. This paper will draw on the joint ILO-Eurofound report, Working Anytime, Anywhere and Its Effects on the World of Work (Forthcoming 2017), which synthesises the findings of national studies from 15 countries – Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, France, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, India, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US, plus the European Working Conditions Survey 2015, to consider the effects of T/ICTM on working time, work-life balance, occupational health and well-being, and individual and organizational performance. The ambiguous and even contradictory effects of T/ICTM on working conditions represent a current, real-world example regarding the challenges of the future of work. "
  • Organized session 7: The Competition for Global Investment: High Stakes for Regional Actors in Terms of Jobs, Institutions, Ecosystems, Sustainability and Democracy
    "The Competition for Global Investment: High Stakes for Regional Actors in Terms of Jobs, Institutions, Ecosystems, Sustainability and Democracy This special session brings together original empirical research on efforts by economic regions to ensure their prosperity through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and economic and social upgrading. The particular focus is on institutional experimentation to achieve better jobs and more inclusive and sustainable economies. Do regions enter the global competition for investment by diluting or reinforcing economic and social regulation? Do they seek to construct ecosystems around training and social skills? Are different stakeholders involved in or excluded from these processes? What are the implications for better work?  This session will focus on developed and transition economies, with particular attention to how regional actors and FDI actors engage in institutional experimentation. "
  • Organized session 8: Reducing precarious work in Europe through social dialogue: Case studies and policy lessons
    "Precarious work is a headline agenda issue for policymakers and social partners alike across Europe. Although often characterised as concentrated in a peripheral segment of the labour market, since the economic crisis problems of precarious employment have become increasingly widespread, affecting a wider range of workers’ labour market experiences. The papers in this proposed session argue that all forms of employment may be at risk from poor working conditions and insecurity related to country-specific combinations of ‘protective gaps’ in employment rights, social protection, representation and enforcement of rights. The extent to which work is precarious varies by country and relates to the weakening of employment protections, restricted social protections, greater employer use of subcontracting and false self employment, inequalities among standard and non-standard employment forms, diminished capacities to exercise collective voice and reduced government resources for enforcing the law. These changes pose significant long-term problems for all stakeholders, especially employers, governments, trade unions and civil society organisations. Not only do they risk growing labour market segmentation, as policies to deregulate and level down standards often impact more on those in already precarious work, but they also undermine efforts to sustain and develop ‘high road’ models equipped for today’s grand challenges of technical change, global competition and a properly resourced, modern welfare state. To explore these issues, this session will host three research papers with original data and analysis selected from six countries -Denmark, France, Germany, Slovenia, Spain and the UK. Following a short overview introduction on the analytical framework of ‘precarious work as protective gaps’, the three papers will each address a specific employment form as follows: i) part-time variable hours work; ii) temporary work; and iii) subcontracted work (including false self employment). Each paper will review the coverage and effectiveness of systems of protection for the specific employment form and draw upon case-study data to investigate how precariousness may be reduced through diverse forms of social dialogue. Case studies were conducted at sector, workplace and supply chain levels in the six countries and reveal promising mechanisms for advancing social protection rights, reducing ambiguities in employment status, closing enforcement gaps, negotiating social value procurement rules, and giving voice to vulnerable workers. Forms of social dialogue are diverse, involving traditional channels of union-employer collective bargaining as well as novel and innovative forms of collaboration involving multiple stakeholders, such as government agencies, civil society organisations, regional and local government and training bodies. The combined research evidence from these papers contributes to international policy debates by demonstrating both the potential for European regulatory regimes to promote or mitigate precariousness at work and the scope for social dialogue to create more inclusive labour markets in contradiction to the perception that social dialogue always protects those in stronger positions in the labour market, the so-called insiders. Session organisation (90 minutes total): Introduction: Closing protective gaps through social dialogue (15 minutes) Damian Grimshaw Paper 1: Establishing minimum and secure working hours guarantees (25 minutes) Philippe Méhaut and Jill Rubery Discussion Paper 2: Extended social dialogue to improve seasonal and temporary work (25 minutes) Aleksandra Kanjuo-Mrčela and Arjan Keizer Discussion Paper 3: Making subcontracting more inclusive (25 minutes) Miroljub Ignjatović, Mat Johnson and Claudia Weinkopf Discussion "
  • Organized session 9: Intermediaries, digital platforms and domestic work
    "Non-standard forms of employment have become a contemporary feature of labour markets around the world, a finding most recently documented in an extensive ILO report on the subject. Non-standard employment comprises four different employment arrangements, namely, temporary employment, part-time and on-call work, multi-party employment relationships, and disguised or dependent self-employment. For most workers, it is also associated with insecurity. These characteristics describe much of the work performed in the domestic work sector. The ILO estimates the sector as having one of the highest shares of informality, including many manifestations of non-standard employment. In most cases, the work by its very nature is temporary, part-time, with much work performed on-call. In many countries, domestic workers also work in multi-party employment relationships, and, in recent years, digital platforms have played an increasing role in matching domestic workers to households. But while the working conditions of domestic workers, and the drivers of informality and formality are increasingly well understood, much remains to be learned about the role that these intermediaries are playing in the sector. This trend comes at a time when the majority of domestic workers remains excluded from the labour law either wholly or partially. Ageing populations, increased female labour participation, and the rolling back of social protection for households in need of care indicates a future increase in the demand for domestic work, including home-based care. Such contexts provide fertile ground for the growth of domestic work intermediaries. This panel explores the role and impact of intermediaries – defined as enterprises, agencies (public or private), online platforms, cooperatives or other institutions – in domestic work. What impacts are they having on working conditions? What positive outcomes have been observed, and under what conditions were such positive outcomes possible? What potential do these intermediaries have to facilitate organizing and collective bargaining? Three papers will share insights on these questions. Hobden presents the results of research examining the role of intermediaries in formalizing domestic work, and suggests conditions under which such intermediaries can play a positive role in formalization, service provision and improvement of working conditions. Hunt explores the rise of on-demand domestic work platforms, the experiences of domestic workers using them in India, South Africa, Mexico, and possible strategies to ensure domestic workers get a fair deal. Burnham and Shah explore the possibilities and pitfalls of organizing domestic workers in the gig economy in the United States. Organizing people: CEH Hobden, Switzerland, hobden@ilo.org LB Burnham, United States, linda@domesticworkers.org AH Hunt, United Kingdom, a.hunt@odi.org.uk "