Melanie Kryst, Philipps Universität Marburg

Co-operation in Flux: Labour Union/NGO Alliances to Secure Labour Standards

By the use of a global governance perspective, the international respectively transnational regulation of labour standards appears as a struggle of diverse (non-)state actors and forms of influence in a multilevel system: going from labour standards set up by the ILO to voluntary commitment of companies. New alliances have been established that cope with chances and difficulties arising from globalisation processes in the struggle for better working conditions. Empirical analysis and theoretical examination of these relationships are still in process. This project is focusing on alliances of two diverse non-state actors in the field of labour regulation: labour unions and NGOs. How do these transnational alliances function in the field of - state-controlled or privately established - regulation of labour?

Through comparative qualitative research these alliances shall be investigated. Combining approaches of global governance research, (transnational) network theory, interest group theory and social movement theory, I develop a consistent analytical framework for this specific form of alliance. As a result, four prototypes of union/NGO alliances differ in structure as well as in joint actions and objectives. This provides a helpful analytic tool to put case studies into order and to identify, in view of theory-building, relevant variables and mechanism for the development of transnational alliances to secure labour standards in a globalised economy.