Workplace codes as tools for workers

Workers face tremendous challenges in their fight to organise, both in terms of personal risk and the sheer number of obstacles. Overcoming such challenges requires multiple strategies and broad-ranging collaboration. In this article we begin by reviewing the repression workers face. We then look at how voluntary workplace codes might help workers organise. Using the SA8000 standard as an example, we look at some of the elements that could be most useful in organising workers. Finally, we look at a collaborative project between the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation and Social Accountability International to develop a training programme that not only helps workers understand how to use codes to their benefit but also builds on their current organising and education strategies.