Urgent Appeals: Data and Shared Learning

Mae'r cynnwys hwn ar gael yn Saesneg yn unig.

WISERD researchers will continue to support the development of data repositories for strategic use within NGOs, having successfully obtained funding from the ESRC under the NGO Secondary Data Analysis Call.

Dr. Jean Jenkins and Dr. Katy Huxley will build on previous work with partners the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), who campaign for decent work and workers’ rights in the global garment production sector. The role of international partner, campaigner and advocate is one that CCC has sought to fulfil for three decades. Over that time, it has acquired a global reputation, including with international bodies such as the ILO and the EU, as a leading and authoritative voice at the forefront of lobbying for better conditions in the international garment sector.

The vast majority of garment workers are low paid and in terms of bargaining power they lack structural power, are weak in associational power and need international allies if their voices are to be heard beyond the confines of the factory. Our project aims to support the work of CCC in relation to their Urgent Appeals (UA) system, an independent mechanism that workers at the grass roots can activate when in need of international lobbying and advocacy in support of their efforts at the local level to fight against abuses of labour and human rights.  

UA cases involve putting pressure on employers, fashion brands, governments and other actors to take positive action and end labour rights violations. UAs taken up by CCC will typically involve one or more violations of human rights and employment rights. The exact circumstances of each case will vary but typical violations involve issues of freedom of association, intimidation of human rights defenders, non-payment of wages and health and safety violations at workplace level. When a case is taken up by CCC its Urgent Appeal Coordinators will direct and organise a campaign in pursuit of remedy in collaboration with the locally affected workers and their organisations.

In doing this important work CCC and their partners across the world generate a vast amount of data in relation to appeals and cases of violations of human and labour rights. However, CCC acknowledges there is under-utilisation of UA data, largely due to conditions of limited resource and inexhaustible demand. Preliminary work between CCC and WISERD in late 2018 (under ESRC IAA NGO Data funding, entitled ‘Learning from urgent appeal data’, Award Number 516074) led to the development of an embryonic database on UA cases but also highlighted limitations and areas where further information was needed to create accurate and useful tools for systematic data collection and analysis.

The aim of the new 18 month project (beginning on November 1st 2019) is to develop, attune and advance the database to support the needs of the UA work and to allow CCC to maximise the value of the data in the interest of furthering improvements in labour conditions and the observance of human rights for workers in the international garment sector. The challenge is to develop the UA database into a dynamic and responsive analytical tool for disseminating and sharing learning across the CCC network. 

Further to evaluation and development of the database, our research project will also undertake analysis of the data in order to track and map violations, identify successful campaigning strategies and explore relationships between violations according to country characteristics and national / institutional variations. The research is pertinent to the decent work agenda and the Protect, Respect, Remedy framework that underpins the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. As a leading voice in the field of business and human rights, better information will assist CCC in its international campaigning and advocacy role with business and policy makers. It will also underpin transfer of learning to human rights defenders and facilitate academic analysis of industrial relations, social accountability, sustainability and supply chain dynamics in an internationalised labour intensive sector.