Protective legal regulation for home-based workers in Australian textile, clothing and footwear supply chains

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Industrial Relations, 2015, 57 (4), pp. 585 - 603
Issue Date:
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© 2015, © Australian Labour and Employment Relations Association (ALERA), SAGE Publications Ltd, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC. Supply chain outsourcing has posed problems for conventional labour regulation, which focuses on employers contracting directly with workers, particularly employees. These difficulties have been exacerbated by the traditional trifurcated approach to regulation of pay and conditions, work health and safety and workers’ compensation. This paper analyses the parallel interaction of two legal developments within the Australian textile, clothing and footwear industry. The first is mandatory contractual tracking mechanisms within state and federal labour laws and the second is the duties imposed by the harmonised Work Health and Safety Acts. Their combined effect has created an innovative, fully enforceable and integrated regulatory framework for the textile, clothing and footwear industry and, it is argued, other supply chains in different industry contexts. This paper highlights how regulatory solutions can address adverse issues for workers at the bottom of contractual networks, such as fissured workplaces and capital fragmentation, by enabling regulators to harness the commercial power of business controllers at the apex to ensure compliance throughout the entire chain.
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