FREE
Mark Anner, Praveen Jha, Hilma Mote, Stefanie Lorenzen, Dr. Michael Fichter, Tandiwe Gross, Dr Frank Hoffer, Markus Krajewski, and Dr. Edlira Xhafa

Towards Decent Work in Global Supply Chains

  • MOOC
  • 14 Nov. 2019
  • 17 min
  • Self-Paced
  • English
  • Interdisciplinary

About this course

This is a compressed course on global supply chains and labour. The course discusses some of the key development and labour issues in global supply chains. It also covers some of the most recent developments around international regulations and labour strategies to achieve decent work in global supply chains. The mix of video lectures, readings, exercises and interaction with other course participants will enable you to engage in complex debates about main issues and strategies to ensuring work with dignity in global supply chains.

This course will run in a tutored phase for four weeks starting on 14 November 2019.

During this period, the online learning experience will be complemented with local workshops organized by the partners of the GLU Online Academy.

If you work for a university, trade union or any other labour-related institution you are welcome to integrate the course material into your education and training programmes. All video lectures and interviews, readings, online resources, and exercises can be downloaded separately and used for free.

What will I learn?

In this course you will get an overview of the main drivers of the global supply chains as well as the impact of supply chains on development. You will be exposed to some of the main issues regarding working conditions and workers’ rights in global supply chains. The course also helps you to acquire a deeper understanding of the governance framework and some of its main gaps. It also covers some recent regulatory measures aimed at improving working conditions and workers’ rights in global supply chains. Finally, you will also learn more about strategies of trade unions at various levels to ensure decent work.

What do I need to know?

The course requires a working level of English. It draws on the fields of political science and law at the level of a Masters’ programme. However, theoretical concepts are explained in an accessible and well-illustrated way, so it is also possible to participate in the course using skills and knowledge acquired outside formal education.

Course workload

The estimated workload is 3-4 hours per week. You can complete this course with the support of an online tutor during the four weeks period starting on 14 November 2019. You can also study at your own pace, any time you want.

Certificates and Scholarships

A. Certificate of Accomplishment

If you wish to obtain a Certificate of Accomplishment, you have to comply with the following schedule:

  1. Complete this course during the four weeks of the tutored phase starting on 14 November 2019;
  2. Pay 49 € before taking the exam; if you are from a non-OECD country or a trade unionist from an OECD country, you can apply for a scholarship, by sending an email to online@global-labour-university.org between 13 and 20 December 2019; and
  3. Pass an online mutiple-choice exam at the end of the course between 16 and 22 December 2019.

B. Certificate of Participation

Once you have watched the videos and responded the quiz questions of each video, you can obtain a Certificate of Participation for 29€ . If you are from a non-OECD country or a trade unionist from an OECD country, you can apply for a scholarship, by sending an email to online@global-labour-university.org

Course Structure

Chapter 1: Global Supply Chains: Main drivers and the impact on development

This chapter provides a general overview of the historical, political and economic context in which global supply chains have emerged and some of the key factors and actors facilitating their emergence. It analyses the global supply chains impact on development and employment in developing countries. Finally, the case of Africa illustrates the way the global supply chains tend to perpetuate structural dependencies.

Chapter 2: Working conditions and workers’ rights in Global Supply Chains: Main decent work deficits

Having discussed the global supply chains' emergence and impact on development, this chapter focuses on some of the major violations of core International Labour Standards. The focus of the chapter is on forced and child labour, and violations of workers’ rights. The chapter concludes with an analysis of some of the root causes of such violations.

Chapter 3: Regulatory instruments and approaches to ensure workers’ rights in global supply chains

This chapter focuses on the international and national regulatory framework intended to enhance respect for human rights in global supply chains. It first discusses a number of existing instruments and legal approaches by identifying some of the main gaps in holding transnational corporations accountable for violations in global supply chains. Then, it turns at some of the new instruments and initiatives which seek to close the existing gaps and enhance compliance with international labour standards.

Chapter 4: Labour strategies for decent work in global supply chains

Having discussed the regulatory context, the final chapter focuses on the labour strategies to address decent work deficits in global supply chains. It also looks at new approaches of using existing instruments, such as Global Framework Agreements, and labour market institutions, such as collective bargaining.

Course team

Prof. Dr. Mark Anner (Associate Professor of Labor and Employment Relations, and Political Science, Penn State University, USA)

Dr. Edlira Xhafa (Coordinator of the Global Labour University Online Academy)

Prof. Dr. Stefanie Lorenzen (Professor of Business Law and Labour Law, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany)

Tandiwe Gross (Associate Fellow, Global Labour University)

Dr. Frank Hoffer (Executive Director, ACT Foundation)

Ekin Ozturk (Online tutor for the course)

Course experts (in order of appearance)

Prof. Dr. Praveen Jha (Professor for Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India)

Dr. Michael Fichter (Senior Lecturer, Global Labour University, Germany)


Hilma Mote (Specialist in Workers Activities, ILO/ACTRAV)

Beate Andrees (Chief, Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work Branch, ILO)

Kirill Buketov (Campaign Officer, International Union of Food and Allied Workers - IUF)

Prof. Dr. Mark Anner (Associate Professor of Labor and Employment Relations, and Political Science, Penn State University, USA)

Prof. Dr. Stefanie Lorenzen (Professor of Business Law and Labour Law, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany)

Prof. Dr. Markus Krajewski (University Professor at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany)

Tandiwe Gross (Associate Fellow, Global Labour University)

Manuela Tomei (Director of WORKQUALITY Department, ILO)

Sharan Burrow (Secretary-General, International Trade Union Confederation - ITUC)

Catelene Passchier (Chair of the Workers’ Group and Vice Chair of the Governing Body of the ILO)

Dr. Frank Hoffer (Executive Director, ACT Foundation)