n Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Forging institutional cooperation to protect core labour standards in trade : are a world trade organisation and an international labour organisation joint dispute settlement system practical?




This paper analyses the successful attempts that have been made to link environmental protection and related regulatory practices to trade with a view to showing that it is possible to achieve similar outcomes in relation to core labour standards. It argues that such outcomes can be achieved through the cooperation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and International Labour Organisation (ILO) and advances proposals on how such cooperation can be established and put into operation. In the short-term, the paper proposes that a joint WTO and ILO Standing Committee be established to address the violation of core labour standards in trade. And for the long-term, it is proposed that the WTO be reformed through the incorporation of a social clause into its multilateral trade regulatory framework. The paper further suggests that the social clause in the new WTO framework place emphasis on the peaceful and non-disruptive resolution of disputes regarding the violation of labour standards in trade with monetary penalties and trade sanctions being used only as a last resort in instances where reasonable and adequate measures earlier taken to resolve the disputes in question have been unsuccessful. This paper concludes that an effective and sustainable means of resolving such disputes is through the establishment of a proposed joint WTO and ILO dispute settlement system.


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