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Tuesday, 09 July 2013

Decent Work and Africa-EU Trade Relations

The implementation of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries might have harmful consequences for the poorer producers and workers in ACP agricultural and manufacturing sectors – this is the conclusion of a recent research paper conducted by Mark Langan, professor of International Relations at Leeds Metropolitan University.
The paper – entitled "The Decent Work Agenda and ACP-EU Relations" - argues that there is disjuncture between the norms of the European Commission as espoused under the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO),Decent Work Agenda” and the tangible implications of European interventions in ACP economies.
In particular, there are concerns that the European Commission’s pursuit of trade liberalisation in ACP states under EPAs does much to jeopardise jobs in import-competing sectors such as textiles and poultry. Meanwhile, forms of employment encouraged within export-oriented sectors such as cut-flower production often revolve around a business model predicated on the exploitation of cheap labour.

Aligning with the discourse of ILO, the European Commission had committed to implementation of the decent work agenda in the world by ensuring that ‘globalisation works for the poor’ and that economic growth is translated into decent jobs and poverty reduction. The ILO’s “Decent Work Agenda” has four interrelated objectives:
1. Increase employment in productive sectors in the global South
2. Promote respect of core labour standards in these sectors
3. Facilitate social dialogue e.g. in terms of trade union recognition
4. Provide social protection e.g. in relation to pensions and sick pay

The quoted paper entitled is freely available to download from the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN) database: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2276947

Source: SSRN

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