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Article | ILR Review | August 2020

Voice in Supply Chains: Does the Better Work Program Lead to Improvements in Labor Standards Compliance?

Very old brick wall with flag of Lesotho. (Shutterstock)

Key Insights for Managers

The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Better Work Lesotho initiative improved relationships between workers and supervisors, addressing strains that had led to non-compliance with labor standards, according to a study authored by Kelly Pike. The Better Work Lesotho program (in operation from December 2010 – June 2016) led factories to create worker-management committees and supervisor training, which enabled workers to more easily voice their concerns, and supplier remediation plans were tailored to address them. This in turn led to better compliance with labor standards in several areas, including worker safety (e.g., more frequent provision of personal protective equipment), wage practices (e.g., more advance notice of worker overtime), and worker training programs, as well as improvements beyond the factory, in workers’ home lives. Some of these benefits eroded over time, perhaps due to supervisor turnover, management interference, or dependence on the ILO as an oversight authority. These findings were derived from 55 focus groups conducted during four waves of data collection between 2011-2017 with over 400 workers in Lesotho’s clothing industry.

Better Work Lesotho

Link to the full text Published Academic Paper

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