Guest Staff Member
Ruben Zandvliet has been a staff member of the Grotius Centre since July 2011 as PhD Fellow.
Enforcement of International Labour Standards
Ruben Zandvliet is a PhD Candidate at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, Leiden University. His research focuses on labour standards in international economic law. He holds an LL.M. (cum laude) from Leiden University and an LL.M. (James Kent Scholar) from Columbia University. In 2013 and 2014 he was a visiting researcher at The Hague Institute for Global Justice. Previously, Ruben worked as a policy adviser for a Member of Parliament in the Netherlands in the field of economic policy, corporate law and constitutional law.
His doctoral research examines the foundations and impact of labour provisions in regional trade and investment agreements. The United States and some European countries have long tried to include a social clause in the World Trade Organization's agreements, which was fiercely opposed by developing countries. The shift towards regional economic governance since the failure of the WTO's Doha Round provides an interesting policy laboratory for new approaches to the linkages between trade and investment liberalization and social concerns. There is now a variety of provisions, which have in common that they tie market benefits to procedural and/or substantive social commitments. It is often assumed that these provisions are a more effective means of labour rights enforcement than the traditional 'naming and shaming' methods of the International Labour Organization. Yet they cover only a subset of international labour standards, and the concern remains that there is a trade-off between improvement of labour standards through international legal instruments and economic development. Within this broad theme he focuses on two main questions. First, how are labour provisions justified and contested? And second, what is the impact of this form of transnational regulation on the protection of labour rights in global supply chains?