Labour Exploitation: Crossing the Threshold between Acceptable and Unacceptable Labour Condition

HUMILIATION, DEGRADATION, DEHUMANISATION: HUMAN DIGNITY VIOLATED, Paulus Kaufmann, Hannes Kuch, Christian Neuhauser, and Elaine Webster, (eds.), Springer Publications, 2009

Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 38/2010

19 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2010

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Abstract

'Dignity' is often evoked in the pursuit of better labor standards, and labor exploitation is often found to entail a loss of human dignity. In a bid to understand the meaning of 'dignity' in the context of labor, this chapter examines and compares the threshold between acceptable labor conditions and labor exploitation from the perspectives of the International Labour Organization (ILO) as international standard-setter, of selected NGOs as international monitors, and of a field-study of Fairtrade laborers as subjects of international labor standards. The distinction between the material and the immaterial elements of the labor relationship emerges as a key to all three perspectives, with the ILO demonstrating a prevailing tendency to link dignity with the immaterial elements of the labor relationship. In response, this chapter asks whether it is enough to consider dignity as contingent on the immaterial elements of the employment relationship or whether dignity in labor does not also require the satisfaction of certain material needs of the laborer.

Suggested Citation

Shields, Kirsteen, Labour Exploitation: Crossing the Threshold between Acceptable and Unacceptable Labour Condition. HUMILIATION, DEGRADATION, DEHUMANISATION: HUMAN DIGNITY VIOLATED, Paulus Kaufmann, Hannes Kuch, Christian Neuhauser, and Elaine Webster, (eds.), Springer Publications, 2009 , Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 38/2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1538497

Kirsteen Shields (Contact Author)

University of Edinburgh ( email )

United Kingdom

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