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Centre of Governance & Human Rights (CGHR)


V4WT , an interdisciplinary research group stemming from the CGHR Student Group, dissects current issues and problematic regulations faced by workers in the technology industry and advocate for the ethical production and use of software. V4WT seeks to expand robust discussions about labour rights in the Global South, ranging from improving minimal labour standards in tech sectors, to fighting for labour dignity in developing economies.

In this workshop, which took place on 24 April 2023, V4WT aimed to more sharply understand the capital relationships, power dynamics, and cultural contexts of workers in tech. The workshop started with a brainstorm, inviting everyone to think and share what it means by “the ethical production of digital technology”. In the first session, each participant discussed the definitional scope of “ethics” and “digital technologies”, and their answers ranged from the risks attached to doing the tech work, the nuances between “ethical” and “fair”, to the workers and consumers involved in the production chain of technology. On this basis, the participants expanded the discussion from perceptions to practices, asking how policy-makers can achieve procedural and distributive equality in this increasingly powerful technological industry. The two practitioners who worked in the tech industry in Nigeria and China highlighted the importance of wages, working conditions, labour protection and most importantly, corporate ownership. As the session progressed into deep-dives, more critical questions emerged as how to dismantle the binary between universal human rights and individualistic labour rights, and how can cross-sector solidarity be promoted. The second session unfolded with a specific review on the comparison between labour problems in the Global North and the Global South. Scholars from India, China, Nigeria, and Latin America offered their knowledge and view about the application or even the violation of labour law in different regions, as well as how are workers treated differently in Southern and Northern countries that are positioned in different parts of the global value chain.

The first V4WT workshop ended with remarkable results. The research team collected social facts, academic viewpoints and suggestions regarding the labour problem and human rights in the technology industry. Fundamentally, the outputs provided a crucial basis for V4WT to refine our research project and establish a professional network for achieving further social impacts.