About this subject
- Eligibility and requirements
- Dates and times
- Further information
- Timetable (login required)(opens in new window)
|Fees||Look up fees|
This course will examine two areas of global significance to labour law. The first is international trade. As a key aspect of globalisation, economic integration of national economies through trade liberalisation (‘free trade’), is profoundly shaping the world of work through job and industry restructuring; shifts in the balance of power between employers and workers; and impacts on working conditions. The second is climate change. As an existential crisis for humanity, climate change will have, according to the International Labour Organisation, an impact on the world of work ‘akin to an Industrial Revolution’. The course will integrate these two areas through an examination of the climate-trade-labour nexus where international trade is a key contributor of climate change and potentially a significant lever for climate action.
The course has three overarching questions:
- What is the significance of labour law in addressing the global challenges of international trade and climate change?
- To what extent do the normative assumptions and theoretical underpinnings of labour law need to be re-assessed and re-cast to help address these challenges?
- To what extent are the established regulatory means of labour law adequate to addressing these challenges? A thread running through these questions is whether continuous economic growth (including through international trade) and capitalism are compatible with a climate-safe economy.
Principal topics will include:
- Whether labour standards should be part of international trade regulation (including the World Trade Organisation’s ‘social clause’ debates)
- Labour provisions in trade agreements
- Other trade instruments (including generalised systems of preferences; multinational codes and guidelines)
- The climate-trade-labour nexus
- The othering of ‘nature’ in labour law
- Labour standards and the Sustainable Development Agenda
- Labour standards and a Just Transition
- Post-growth economies and labour law
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject should be able to:
- Analyse and explain the key legal, policy and theoretical aspects of the interaction between labour law on one hand, and international trade and climate change on the other,
- Examine alternative trade instruments for labour regulation,
- Evaluate the inclusion of labour standards within trade agreements, understanding the historical development, theoretical justifications, and practical implications of such provisions,
- Explain the relationships between international trade, climate change, and labour regulation, enabling and identify opportunities for leveraging trade mechanisms to address climate challenges in the world of work,
- Discuss and debate the compatibility of continuous economic growth, capitalism, and labour law within the context of climate-safe economies.
- Show competence in the critical analysis of texts, both legal and non-legal, including an awareness of the critical importance of political economy,
- Show competence in the ability to apply legal knowledge to factual circumstances,
- Show an ability to relate different fields of knowledge to one another (eg. law, economics, politics),
- Be able to develop persuasive arguments both orally and in writing supported by relevant evidence,
- Develop and evaluate research questions in this area,
- Construct well-structured, coherent, and persuasive written legal arguments that examine key questions in this area.
Last updated: 10 November 2023