5 Lessons from Working with Businesses to Support Workers around the World

May 23, 2018
This piece appeared on ETI’s May ‘Leadership Series’ blog yesterday I was present at the birth of ETI 20 years ago. Recently installed at the Catholic aid agency, CAFOD, I was sent off to discuss an obscure initiative to set up a ‘Monitoring and Verification Working Group’ for companies trying to assess labour standards in their supply chains. I was impressed

The Global Politics of Pro-Worker Reforms

March 1, 2018
Guest post from Alice Evans, Lecturer in the Social Science of Development at King’s College, London Politically smart, locally-led collaborations are all the rage in international development. Through iterative adaptation and experimentation, states can improve their capabilities and learn what works for them. So sings the choir. But we also need to recognise that governing elites will experiment in ways

To Uber or not to Uber? That is Your Question

November 16, 2017
OK, I’m probably going to regret this but… should I use Uber taxis? I got into a big argument about this in Canada last week, not that there was a uniform position – Ellie the Oxfam Canada campaigner sees Uber as the spawn of the devil, while Ifthia the fund raiser has an Uber-driver Dad. When I randomly asked a

Can a new Index measure whether governments are serious about reducing inequality?

July 18, 2017
Oxfam’s inequality ubergeek, Deborah Hardoon, needs your help with an ambitious new index As a researcher working on inequality, there are plenty of data and statistics for me to analyse, model and generate ‘killer stats’ from. Of course, there are many data gaps, plus lots of debate on which measures are the best to use (hint, not the one proposed

How can global companies (positively) influence development? Engaging with Unilever

August 9, 2016
Oxfam works with lots of big private companies, but in the (frequent) discussions about the role of private sector in development, our relationship with one (very big) name keeps cropping up. Unilever. We’ve done a ‘poverty footprint’ study of Unilever’s impact in Indonesia, and more recently have engaged with it on its labour practices in Vietnam. Unilever is also one

Reading the tea leaves: What the women’s movement can learn from a victory in India

November 19, 2015
This piece by Devaki Jain, an Indian feminist economist, originally appeared on the scroll.in website The good news for the women’s movement in India came from Munnar, a hill station in Kerala, last month where a group of women workers won a signal battle against their employers, a tea estate by the name of Kanan Devan Hills Plantations. One of the slogans at

The Living Wage: a remarkable story of global progress – how big could it get?

December 12, 2014
A few years ago, I was struck by the fervour with which a student activist acquaintance of mine, Stefan Baskerville, talked about the Living Wage. Every holiday he would leave his life of student activism (and occasional study) in Oxford and head for the East End of London, where he worked for Citizens UK, a community organization, in a campaign

Supporting labour rights in Indonesia’s sportswear factories (Nike, Adidas etc). Draft case study for your comments

May 20, 2014
I’d like to continue picking your brains on the drafts of a series of case studies I’ve been working on. Next up is some long term advocacy on labour rights in Indonesia. Here’s the full draft case study for your comment (PC case study Indonesia Labour Rights Project May 2014). From 1997-2013 Oxfam Australia’s Indonesian labour rights project (ILRP) worked

The living wage campaign: are we reaching a tipping point in global supply chains?

December 10, 2013
It’s private sector week here on FP2P. First up, NGOs have been pushing the living wage in their engagement with international companies for at least 15 years, but Rachel Wilshaw, Oxfam’s Ethical Trade Manager reckons we might be on the verge of some kind of victory. The issue of a living wage is going up the corporate responsibility agenda. Last

New international rules on domestic workers – will they make a difference?

June 28, 2011

The impact of the global crisis on women workers – new report

March 30, 2009
A powerful new Oxfam report is released today, ahead of this week’s crisis summit in London. Written by my colleague Bethan Emmett, it pulls together preliminary research in 10 countries across Asia and Latin America to show that women working in export manufacturing industries, e.g. garments and electronics, are often first to be laid off, frequently without pay or compensation. In