Enforcing workers’ compensation rights for Chinese seafarers in human resource supply chains

Desai Shan, Pengfei Zhang

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    Non-compliance with labour standards impedes enforcement of workers’ rights in human resource supply chains. Despite governments’ efforts to improve labour standards and encourage employer-centred voluntary compliance programmes, infringements of workers’ rights are widely reported. Using a qualitative socio-legal study of Chinese seafarers’ workers’ compensation rights, we investigate whether shipping companies and their crewing agencies comply with their legal obligations following workplace injuries and fatalities. Through 74 semi-structured interviews and analysis of crew management policies from 7 shipping companies, we identify a failure of most shipowners’ internal policies to comply with legal obligations. Furthermore, multinational shipping companies use crewing agencies to evade their liabilities to injured seafarers. We propose the establishment of a joint liability mechanism between employers and labour intermediaries to fill this compliance gap that exists in global human resource supply chains. JEL Codes: J81, J83, L91, M54, N75.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEconomic and Labour Relations Review
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2020


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