Corporate Social Responsibility and the Worker Stakeholder
Better Work is a partnership programme of the ILO and IFC for improving compliance with labour standards, which directly engages retailers with unions and manufacturers as well as domestic government. It is an alternative to the traditional channel for labour standards enforcement (i.e. buyer codes of conduct), which facilitates greater transparency and accountability through social dialogue.
The purpose of this study is to establish a better understanding of the factors that influence workers’ perceptions of what makes better work. This builds on previous research about Better Work, which has quantitatively analyzed supplier assessment reports and worker questionnaires.
Using the case of Lesotho, this study takes a qualitative approach to measuring workers’ perceptions, drawing on feedback from 17 focus group discussions with 149 workers from 40 factories. Findings indicate that supervisor-worker relations play a critical role in shaping workers’ perceptions of their work, as do OSH policies that are sustained beyond buyer visits. Workers suggest that human rights awareness, supervisor training, OSH improvements, and flexibility regarding doctors and sick leave will make their work better.