Networking of National Institutes for Labour Studies

The Asian Network of National Institutes of Labour Studies was established in March 1994 at a preparatory meeting organised by the International Labour Organization Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ILO/ROAP) in collaboration with the International Institute of Labour Studies (IILS), Geneva and the Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training (JILPT).

The main objective of the network is to enhance the capacity of the member institutes of labour studies in the region to contribute to high quality policy advice and a range of policy options available to national policy makers and socio-economic development planners. Its main activity is to conduct a joint study with the network institutes on topics/themes of current concern in the field of labour.

The member institutes participated in the ILO/JILPT networking are from Australia, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Since 1994, five topics have been selected as themes for five rounds of investigative studies as follows:

  • Fifth Round (2005-present): Promoting Decent Work in Global Production Systems in Asia and the Pacific (GPS)
  • Fourth Round (2002-2004): Determining the Impact of Information and Communication Technology on Decent Work in the Asia Pacific Region (ICT)
  • Third Round (1997-2000): Social Adjustment in Globalization – the Role of Social Actors
  • Second Round (1995-1997): Globalization and Equity: Policies for Growth
  • First Round (1994-1995): Impact of Globalization and the World of Work

Background of the Fifth Round Joint Investigative Studies on GPS

The report of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization identified the proliferation of global production systems (GPS) as a critical phenomenon that presents the development community with both new opportunities and challenges for attaining the goal of decent work for all. GPS are now a significant source of employment for developing countries and impact upon their labour markets in a variety of different ways. Regulation is weak in these new production systems, and there is debate as to whether there is a “race to the bottom” in labour and other standards while competing in the global market. At the same time, participation in these systems is an important way to attract investment, increase technological capability, build industrial capacity and foster economic growth. There is an abundance of literature on the economic dimension of upgrading in GPS, but there is much less on social implications. More importantly, there have been no attempts to link the social and economic aspects of GPS in a coherent way. To this end, the ILO/JILPT has decided to address GPS as the network’s research topic for the Fifth Round of Joint Investigative Studies, with a special reference to its social dimensions.