For a world having cut throat competition, outsourcing of work due to globalization exists and neglecting the rights of workers is a common problem in many countries. Worker entitlements have become a crucial point of debate and concern, not only in textile manufacturing companies but the corporate world as whole. Over the past several years, companies and NGO's together strive to ensure that workers receive their entitlements.
With the onset of globalization, new employment openings have come up like outsourcing and subcontracting in the last few decades. The pressure to survive in a competitive and open market has increased the need of outsourcing or subcontracting agreements. Outsourcing means allocation of service or business process to an external service provider. These methods are favored as it is cost effective for the manufacturer. Outsourcing ensures that the company receives higher profit margin and delivers uninterrupted and quick services to their customers.
There has been a spectacular change in the working environment of various countries in the last two decades. This is because the companies are forced to follow certain rules which create favorable conditions for workers in the organization. The traditional views of working have changed. Today, only achieving the objectives and goals of a company and maximizing profit will not help an organization to flourish. Apart from profits and goals, it is essential for companies to ensure that the workers are given their rights and they are not exploited.
An organization that outsources its work needs to ensure that the outsourced workers are not deprived of their fundamental rights and benefits. They need to create a healthy working environment where both the parties enjoy concrete benefits. Due to globalization there has been a significant shift of processing units to developing countries globally.
It has become imperative for industries to give standardized goods and services on time at an affordable price and still earn better profits. Hence, outsourcing has a strong demand. These industries rely on cheap, unskilled labor and women laborers which often comprises of 70-90% of the total workforce in Asian, Latin American and African countries.
On the positive side, this has led to more employment opportunities in the developing nations but most of these workplaces are unregulated, unsafe and deny basic rights to workers. Though strong international labor laws exist, but it is not implemented properly in many countries. Moreover, each country follows their own rules and regulations set for workers.
Employees should know that they have the right to get a written statement of the main terms and conditions of the employment. This includes work profile, wages, and hours of work, holiday entitlements, job hazards, sick leaves and overtime payment. If there are any illegal deductions in the pay, the worker has the right to ask about the deductions and get a detailed payment slip.
In addition, the employees must have the right to know the risks involved in their job. There have been instances of accidents or fire break-out in factories due to lack of safety measures. It is the poor workers who get injured or lose their lives. Hence, the worker should get the right to stop work or leave the area due to unsafe or dangerous conditions. Likewise, underage children should not be hired for work. Every organization should follow the laws for Child labor of their respective countries.
Furthermore, it is the duty of the employer to pay minimum wages determined by the local government along with allowances and other benefits to the employees. Any labor that is forced or bonded is illegal and must be subject to punishment. Also, taking rest breaks is a must while working. In addition, it is necessary to create an environment free from harassment, abuse or corporal punishments at the workplace.
It is important for the well-being of the employees to get time off from work in a week and also obtain annual paid holidays. According to a research, employees in the Western European countries have highest number of paid holiday while workers of Asia Pacific have lowest in the world. Additionally, UK is the most generous nation when it comes to give workers annual leave entitlements. Along with the annual leave and public holidays, laws of few countries provide special leave for marriage, death in the family or leaves for some special occasions which is praiseworthy.
The Declaration of Human Rights clearly mentions that all workers are equal in the eyes of law and they stand equal chance of employment, salary and benefits irrespective of caste, sex, nationality or religion. The employer should not show any kind of discrimination towards the workers. Around 140 countries have approved the rule of equal wages that was proposed by International Labor organization. This inequality is normally found between male and female workers.
Today, women work equally with men in all spheres of life; still in many nations they face discrimination at their workplace. Rights of women in the workplace have many aspects such as right to work even if pregnant; as long as one can perform fairly. Employers cannot refuse to hire women based on their marital status. Women should report about sexual harassment, immoral advances or vulgar comments to the concerned authority without fear of losing ones job.
One of the crucial problems that most of the outsourcing companies face is ignoring safety measures or preventing accidents or work related illness. Most of the outsourced workers are unaware of their rights and hence remain silent. There are adequate regulations for employers and outsourcing firms to protect the rights of the workers. However, when it comes to implementing some multinational companies take away the employee benefits and under pay them.
Trade unions have not remained very successful in bringing solution to the problems of the outsourced workers either. It is the right of the worker to join or form trade unions, bargain with the company regarding salary, benefits and other work issues. The worker is also entitled for overtime if he has to work beyond the working hours mentioned in the contract.
In conclusion, if companies ensure to follow internationally accepted laws at workplace for worker entitlements and agree to accomplish their corporate social responsibilities, a win-win situation will result for both organization and the workers.