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In this newsletter

We also highlight two Feminist Forum events featuring Dr Kaye Quek  (RMIT’s School of Global, Urban and Social Studies) and Cherry Smiley (Concordia University in Montreal University). For the uninitiated, the Feminist Forum provides an important space for researchers, academics and HDR students working with feminist theory, feminist methodology, and/or issues of gender and inequality to share their work in a supportive environment. CPOW is proud to support the Feminist Forum in collaboration with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Australia (CATWA). Thank you as always to CPOW’s Gender Equality and Diversity Theme Leader, Dr Meagan Tyler and her wonderful team (Dr Kate Farhall, Dr Kaye Quek and Dr Caroline Norma, as well as volunteers from CATWA) for their tireless efforts in organising this regular seminar series.

CPOW was delighted to be able to support the launch of two important books by Dr Annie Delaney and Dr Shelley Marshall. The launch was held as part of the Association of Industrial Relations Academics Australia and New Zealand (AIRAANZ) 2019 conference program hosted by the School of Management at RMIT University. In this issue we feature these books which address topics central to CPOW’s Corporate Responsibility and Accountability theme.

And speaking of AIRAANZ, we highlight the contributions of a number of CPOW members to the AIRAANZ Conference. We are also pleased to profile CPOW researcher Dr Carys Chan, congratulate members on several research awards, invited presentations and international collaborations, as well as provide the details of two upcoming seminars by Professor Dave Whyte from the University of Liverpool and Professor Chris Warhurst from the University of Warwick. 

Professor Vanessa Cooper
Director of the Centre for People, Organisation and Work

Partnership and Project Updates
CPOW-CRIMT Partnership Workshop February 2019

Building on the successful contributions of five CPOW researchers at the 2018 CRIMT Partnership Conference: What kind of work for the future? Disruption, experimentation and Re-/regulation, in Montreal, Quebec, members of the CRIMT partnership recently gathered in Melbourne under the banner of the CPOW-CRIMT Partnership Workshop 2019. The purpose of the workshop was to explore how researchers can play an active part in the International Partnership, which comprises 18 research centres worldwide. The workshop was organised in an engaged way so that attendees could deliberate, reflect and explore the opportunities available.

Funded by a SSHRC grant (Canada) and managed from Montreal (HEC – Hautes études commerciales de Montréal and Université de Montréal), the partnership offers a range of research and teaching opportunities to CPOW members, and RMIT staff and students more generally. There are opportunities to meet researchers, share ideas, develop joint projects, engage in exchanges across the world, and develop research outputs and teaching materials. The partnership is guided by a commitment to postgraduates and early career researchers, with specialist workshops, travel awards, and opportunities to engage with lead researchers from a range of disciplines.

Already work has and is taking place involving CPOW staff including a policy summit, explorations about joint research, a book project, and exchanges. Lead international members were present at the workshop including Professor Gregor Murray  (Co-director and Canada Research Chair, University of Montreal) and Professor Patrice Jalette (Lead Researcher, University of Montreal). These experts enabled workshop attendees to learn about the scope and capacities of the partnership so that they can make use of these varied and exciting opportunities. If you are interested in getting involved in the CPOW-CRIMT Partnership, please contact Professor Peter Fairbrother. (Source: Peter Fairbrother, Kate Farhall)

A tweet from the event, featuring some of the speakers:

Fiona Macdonald, Peter Fairbrother, Kate Farhall, Ruth Barton, Patrice Jalette,Gregor Murray, Meagan Tyler.

(Photos: Peter Nowotnik; Source: Twitter - @RMITCPOW)

Event Success
Feminist Forum: Marriage Trafficking Book Launch

The final Feminist Forum for 2018 was held in early December, during the United Nations 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women, and featured Dr Kaye Quek (GUSS, RMIT). Kaye launched her new book: "Marriage Trafficking: Women in Forced Wedlock" (Routledge) and spoke about the interconnected oppressions that women who are trafficked for marriage face, including the lack of recognition regarding marriage trafficking in international human rights instruments and domestic law. Kaye's work has been pathbreaking in connecting issues of trafficking for sexual exploitation with trafficking for domestic labour and trafficking for reproductive exploitation.

You can find out more about the book here: https://www.routledge.com/Marriage-Trafficking-Women-in-Forced-Wedlock/Quek/p/book/9781138650763 and it can be borrowed (as an e-book) from the RMIT library. (Source: Meagan Tyler)

From left: Meagan Tyler, Kaye Quek (Photo: Meagan Tyler)

Feminist Forum: Cherry Smiley

On the 4th of February, the Feminist Forum team hosted Cherry Smiley, an Indigenous feminist activist and Trudeau Scholar from Concordia University (Canada). Cherry is from the Nlaka'pamux (Thompson) and Diné (Navajo) Nations and is known internationally for her ground breaking work on understanding systems of prostitution as a form of racist and colonialist violence against Indigenous women. Cherry spoke at length about Canadian colonial history, linking these present day inequalities and abuses, including prostitution (for more on her rejection of the term 'sex work', check out her blog: Why Sex work doesn’t work). She also spent time offering a critical perspective on the current Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Inquiry in Canada, and the way in which women have been marginalised and sidelined, even in an inquiry about recognising and addressing violence against women. You can find out more about Cherry's research here: unspeakable.ca

Many thanks to the fifty or so people who turned up to listen to such an important, and often unheard, perspective. We hope to see you at the next Feminist Forum (Source: Meagan Tyler)

From left: Kate Farhall, Cherry Smiley, Meagan Tyler, Kaye Quek (Photo: Meagan Tyler)

Book Launch: Annie Delaney and Shelley Marshall

CPOW was proud to be able to support the launch of two important books by Annie Delaney and Shelley Marshall. In addition to the authors themselves, Dr Katie Hepworth,  Director of Workers’ Rights for the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibilities (ACCR) and Neyeem Emran from Oxfam, spoke at the launch. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Fiona Macdonald for Chairing the event on behalf of CPOW. 

For more information about these books which address topics central to CPOW’s Corporate Responsibility and Accountability theme, please see the “Media and Publications” section below. (Source: Vanessa Cooper)

From left: Shelley Marshall, Annie Delaney, Rosaria Burchielli (Photo: Peter Nowotnik)


CPOW members contributed to a number of workshops and conference streams at AIRAANZ 2019. Below we highlight a selection of these contributions.

Dr Afreen Huq and Annie Delaney presented their findings from the "Challenging the entrepreneurial discourse around women home-based workers’ empowerment" research project.

"Within scholarly and policy debates, empowerment is often measured by economic conditions alone - to the detriment of broader social, political and power relations impacting on the working conditions of home-based workers. While self-employment and income can and does make vital contributions to the economic productivity and social well-being of women at the fringes of the economy, it does not "automatically" empower women (...) Empirical evidence on the degree to which gender identities are negotiated and reconstituted by these women to achieve empowerment, and agency are still limited". 

The researchers explore the question of whether the lived experience of women home based workers represents an emerging entrepreneur or exploited worker, through an empirical investigation of homeworkers in Bangladesh to shed light on how empowerment is being defined and measured and what this means for the women workers. (Source: Afreen Huq)

Respondent women workers. Photo taken by Afreen Huq and Annie Delaney during their fieldwork in Bangladesh.

Dr Maria Beamond and Matthew Ripley (from the International Labour Organization) presented a research project called “Creating stakeholder value in the extractives supply chain". 

Modern corporate supply chains are complex (Barrientos, 2013) and affect human rights and labour standards in a myriad of ways (Anner, 2011). Suppliers’ labour issues represent key risks in global supply chains - including cost, operational, and reputational risks (Jiang et al., 2009). Many of the labour issues facing companies may seem intractable, requiring a new approach that moves beyond individual suppliers to also consider the wider ‘market system’ in which suppliers exist. The highlighted issues lead to a key question: "What business strategies can lead firms to improve labour conditions for all suppliers, thus lifting up labour standards across the whole of their supply chain?" To answer this question the researchers use Market System and Shared Value approaches, and a qualitative-inductive research method. Through semi-structured interviews and observation, the researchers collected data from employees and external stakeholders within subsidiaries of an Australian extractive-multinational operating in Laos. Initial findings from the study were presented at the AIRAANZ Conference, and the researchers are currently developing this study into a larger collaborative project. (Source: Maria Beamond)

Left: The mining operation in Laos where the data was being gathered (source: Maria Beamond)

Right: Maria Beamond (photo: Peter Nowotnik)

CPOW postdoctoral fellow, Kate Farhall, in conjunction with Dr Natasha Cortis from the Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW, co-convened the ‘Gender-based violence and work’ stream. This stream brought together interdisciplinary scholarship exploring intersections between gender-based violence and work. The six papers across two panels focused on a variety of issues at a variety of scales, from local case studies to the macro questions of international governance. Investigations covered a variety of topics, including the design and effectiveness of employment protections and workplace support for preventing and addressing violence; studies of gender-based violence in the workplace; analyses of workers delivering anti-violence interventions; and how these relate to questions of international labour rights. 

The stream was well-attended, with fruitful discussions between attendees leading to knowledge translation across a variety of areas of expertise including several academic disciplines, the union movement and participants in international governance bodies. (Source: Kate Farhall)

Kate Farhall (Photo: Peter Nowotnik)

Professors John Burgess, Pauline Stanton, Tim Bartram, with their Canadian guests - Professors Patrice Jalette and Gregor Murray - discussed "The Employment Practices of MNEs in the Resources Sector: A Canada - Australia Comparison".

Their research examines the HRM practices of multinational enterprises within the resources sector of two of the largest national exporters of resources: Canada and Australia. They both share similar colonial histories and both have abundant natural resources that are a source for large scale FDI by MNEs (Kealey and Patmore, 1996). Two questions will guide the research: Are the HRM practices of MNEs in the resources sector different from those found in MNEs in other sectors? If so, what are the areas of difference and potential experimentation? Are the HRM practices of MNEs in the resources sector of Canada and Australia similar? The discussion will draw on comparative survey data on employment relations practices within multinational companies across a number of countries.

Amongst other streams on the conference, John also spoke about "The Challenges of Skills Development through the VET Sector in Vietnam’s Garment Industry" - a project developed with Dr Beni Halvorsen and Tri Tan. The study aims to reveal the underlining challenges VET institutions face in providing core skills to graduates for entry into the Vietnamese garment sector. (Source: John Burgess)

Dr Ruth Barton presented her findings on her research of the dynamics between trade unions, deindustrialised communities and corporations in Tasmania. The project, titled "Trade Unions, Management and Place: The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union in the Vegetable and Potato Processing Industry in North West Tasmania" has been developed with Patrice Jalette from Université de Montréal, and tackles a number of issues, such as vulnerability of disadvantaged regions to capital’s mobility, or risks of disruptions and lack of stability where union actions takes place. (Source: Ruth Barton)

See the video of Ruth's presentation below. (Video: Peter Nowotnik)

Upcoming Events
Kill the Corporation, Before it Kills Us!

His latest books are: The Violence of Austerity (Pluto, 2017 ed. with Vickie Cooper) Corporate Human Rights Violations: Global Prospects for Legal Action (Routledge, 2017 with Stefanie Khoury) and Building a New Catalonia (Pol:len, 2019 ed. With Ignasi Bernat).  He is a regular contributor to Red Pepper, Open Democracy, Bella Caledonia, The National, The Morning Star and The Guardian. (Source: David Whyte)

The Future of Work: Positions, Policies and Evidence

He was formerly Professor of Work & Organisation Studies at the University of Sydney. His research focuses on job quality, skills and aesthetic labour. He has published 16 books including Are bad jobs inevitable? (2012), Job Quality in Australia (2015) and the Oxford Handbook of Skills and Training  (2017). He has published over 50 articles in journals such as Work, Employment and Society, Administrative Science Quarterly and Journal of Management Studies. Much of his research is funded by government. He is currently the UK lead on the pan-European ‘Beyond 4.0’ project examining the future of work and welfare. 

He has been an expert advisor to the UK, Scottish and Australian Governments as well the OECD, Oxfam and Scottish Living Wage Campaign. He is motivated by wanting to improve the quality of working lives through science. (Source: Chris Warhurst)

Research Profile
Carys Chan

Carys taught Organisational Analysis in her first semester at RMIT, and will be teaching Contemporary Management: Issues and Challenges in 2019. Her research interests are in the work–life interface, specifically exploring the link between personal resources (e.g., self-efficacy) and various work- and non-work-related demands, resources, and outcomes. For her PhD thesis, she explored how leaders' emotions affected their subordinates' work and non-work outcomes through a social cognitive lens. She is also working on projects focused on patient mistreatment victimisation, internal vs. external work experience, the boundary-less work–life interface, and the employee outcomes of cross-border mergers and acquisitions. Carys' goal is to enhance understanding of the work–life interface through an integrated theoretical and practical lens across various professions and industries.

Carys has published in the International Journal of Human Resource Management, International Journal of Manpower, British Journal of Social Work, and Frontiers in Psychology. She is also on the editorial board of Journal of Vocational Behavior and International Journal of Stress Management. Besides academic journals, Carys is a regular contributor to Channel News Asia and Overseas Singaporean. (Source: Carys Chan)

Media & Publications

In January 2019, Distinguished Professor Sara Charlesworth and Professor Paula McDonald wrote a submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission Inquiry into Sexual Harassment. The document draws on their three-year ARC Discovery project on Sexual Harassment in Australia.  

"Multi-pronged approaches are needed to ensure sexual harassment free workplaces" say Sara Charlesworth (CPOW) and Paula McDonald (QUT). These approaches include: reform of legal regulation and policy, reform of current dispute resolution mechanisms used by human rights commissions and occupational health and safety regulators, and critically, organisational policy and practice. (Source: Sara Charlesworth)

See their submission to the Human Rights Commission Inquiry into Sexual harassment:

Shelley Marshall, Living Wage: Regulatory Pathways to Living Wages for Precarious and Informal Workers in Global Supply Chains, Oxford University Press, 2019.

Informal workers often experience exploitative labour conditions and struggle to make ends meet while receiving poverty wages. Current labour laws do not equip us with the right tools to address this issue and regulate work in global supply chains. To close this gap between labour laws and the current mode of production, this book proposes a strategy championing a global living wage.

The proposal is the result of years of research on labour conditions for vulnerable workers in a range of countries, including Australia, Thailand, Bulgaria, and Cambodia. Almost every worker interviewed was generous in sharing their life story and expressed relief in having it heard. In some ways, the ‘Living Wage’ serves as a platform to amplify their voices, and each story emphasises the dire need for action.

The book is of interest to individuals and organisations that work to improve the lives and livelihoods of the poorest and marginalised workers, and to academics and students that are interested in labour regulation, informal work, supply chains and political and social justice. (Source: Shelley Marshall)

Publication by Annie Delaney & Shelley Marshall (with Rosaria Burchielli & Jane Tate)

Annie Delaney, Rosaria Burchielli, Shelley Marshall and Jane Tate, Homeworking Women: A Gender Justice Perspective Routlege, 2018

There is a hidden workforce of women that are working from home making products sourced by global brands in long supply chains, while receiving below minimum wage. They are part of the 60% of all workers worldwide that toil in informal conditions, unregulated by labour laws and unorganised by unions. They work long hours, and mainly they work at home because they have little choice, they are expected to raise children, look after the family and care for others.

‘Homeworking Women’, proposes a gender justice approach to counteract the underlying causes of injustices – capitalism and patriarchy. A gender justice perspective helps us to understand why homeworkers face injustice and ways to counter this. The gender justice perspective highlights four dimensions of gender-justice (recognition, representation, rights and redistribution) these dimensions demonstrate strategic approaches to improve homeworkers work rights, social and legal protection and organising.

The book outlines initiatives that have supported homeworkers along the lines of the gender-justice dimensions. These include research and various regulatory approaches, social movement approaches and networks of resistance to help organising and organisation building with homeworkers. (Source: Annie Delaney)

Dr Lauren Rickards: RMIT Research Excellence – Enterprise Award
Professor Lisa French: Focus on Women in Global Screen Industries

Lisa French, Dean of the School of Media and Communication, was invited to Sweden in January 2019, funded by Stockholm University’s Representing Women Research Team and Riksbankens Jubileumfond. Lisa participated in research workshops with a focus on women in global screen industries and also was on several presentations at a public event ‘A Comparative Approach to Women in Cinema’, which was held on January 13 at the Swedish Film Institute. It was streamed live by WIFT International. Researchers were from Australia (Lisa French), Ireland (Anne O’Brien, Susan Liddy), Lithuania (Jelena Salaj, Lina Jancori), Norway (Ingrid Holtar), Sweden (Ingrid Stigsdotter), Turkey (Hulya Uğur Tanriöver) and the UK (Shelley Cobb), and Swedish filmmaker participants were Mia Engberg, Christina Olofson, Lisa Ohlin, Rojda Sekersöz and Fanni Metelius. The researchers met to develop research collaborations and to exchange experiences and knowledge about their research about the gendered working conditions in the film industry in the various countries they are studying. (Source: Lisa French)

From left: Anna Serner, the CEO of the Swedish Film Institute and Lisa French (Photo: Lisa French)

John Burgess: Invitations and Appointments

John Burgess was invited to speak during the launch of the Centre for Research on Employment and Work, University of Greenwich in January, 2019. 

The centre develop research into work and employment, public services, organisation and diversity management. Its current projects include: Work Quality; Organisational Whistle Blowing; Access to Justice for Disabled Employees; National Care Services in the UK; Water Remunicipilisation; EU Energy Market Liberalisation. 

In December 2018, John was also appointed as external grant reviewer for the Irish Research Council, PhD Scholarship Program. He is on the list of international reviewers who are responsible for assessing different grants under the umbrella of the Irish Research Council. For the PhD scholarship scheme he reviewed 12 applications from students based in Ireland and internationally to undertake PhD programs at Irish universities. (source: John Burgess)

A group photo of the participants at the Greenwich conference (Photo: John Burgess)


If you would like to join CPOW or include your research activities in forthcoming newsletters, please email these to: cpow@rmit.edu.au

CPOW acknowledges that economic and social divisions are defining features of the world we live in. The Centre’s research focuses on addressing economic inequalities and fragmentation, social questions around gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age and locality, to enhance working lives and advance positive social change. Find out more at: CPOW

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