The role of government in influencing labour conditions through the procurement of services: Some political challenges

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Journal Article
Journal of Industrial Relations, 2015, 57 (4), pp. 544 - 562
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© 2015, © Australian Labour and Employment Relations Association (ALERA), SAGE Publications Ltd, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC. The increasing complexity of the employment relationship in supply chains poses challenges to the protection of labour standards internationally. While there is significant research on labour standards in international supply chains, there is much less on domestic supply chains and public procurement. Furthermore, the role of government in supply chain labour standards is under-researched. This article uses the context of residential aged care in Australia and New Zealand to highlight the inadequacy of the current role of government in promoting decent labour standards in domestic supply chains. We argue that the role of government in the employment relationship needs to be reconceptualised in order to recognise its agency as an indirect employer, and its consumer power, in public procurement.
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