The European Union’s Commodification of Bulgarian Homeworkers: Regulating Informal Labour in Global Production Networks

  • Subtitle: Working Paper (Law) No. 40

This paper interrogates the potential of contemporary international law instruments to realize decent work for homeworkers. It grounds the discussion with reference to data on homeworkers in Bulgaria.

The paper argues that the complex labour relations of the global economy necessitates a multi-layered overlapping regulatory matrix that regulates plural jurisdictional scales relies on plural mechanisms and recognizes workers’ plural identities. The paper shows with reference to Bulgaria that even if global framework agreements and international law instruments include provisions to protect homeworkers’ human rights unless representative organizations of homeworkers participate in crafting the protections they are unlikely to be enforced. Not only are homeworkers exploited—in Bulgaria they are paid a third of the minimum wage—but not regulating homework jeopardizes efforts to protect factory workers.

Informal Economy Theme
Informal Economy Topic
Occupational group
Publication Type