Bargaining for social justice : the role of international framework agreements for fair globalisation
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The thesis discusses the role of international framework agreements as a trade unions’ strategy for better corporate behaviour, particularly with regard to labour standards. Since such agreements are the results of transnational collective bargaining between global union federations and multinational enterprises, their impact on the emergence of transnational industrial relations is also part of the analysis. The objective is to assess the role of international framework agreements, for the improvement of labour standards, for sustainable transnational social dialogue, and to discuss to what extent they contribute to an empowerment of global and local trade union movements. The framework for the debate is economic globalisation, which allows multinational enterprises to operate worldwide, without being bound to public international and human rights law. Weak state regulation and the limited success of corporate social responsibility initiatives urge global union federations to take up transnational collective bargaining as a new way of business co-regulation. Not only the achievements, but also the obstacles this form of labour transnationalism faces, are examined. The thesis concludes that international framework agreements lead to better working conditions, but not necessarily to formal transnational industrial relations. Since they are young instruments, particularly problems concerning enforcement have not been solved yet.