International labour standards and decent work: a critical analysis of Thailand's experiences, with suggestions for theory, policy, practice and research

Chokchai Suttawet, Greg J Bamber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The International Labour Organization (ILO) promotes labour standards and decent work to counter a global ‘race to the bottom’ in terms of job regulation. By analysing Thailand's experiences, we consider three questions: 1) How might we characterize Thai capitalism?; 2) What are Thailand's labour market contexts for human resource management and industrial relations?; and 3) What is Thailand's situation regarding decent work and how is it related to politics, ILO labour standards and labour law? We identify two Thai labour-market contexts: state-owned and private enterprises where there is unionization (Type A); and public services/smaller enterprises/informal work where unionization is negligible (Type B). We find implementation of decent work is patchy. We suggest that Thailand reforms its tripartite agency to promote decent work and improve human resource management. These steps are more likely to be more effective and sustained under a parliamentary democracy than under a military junta. Our analysis has relevance also for other economies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-565
Number of pages27
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Human Resources
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • decent work
  • ILO labour standards
  • industrial relations
  • International Labour Organization
  • Thailand
  • Thai capitalism
  • regulation
  • Human Resource Management
  • unionization
  • social dialogue
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • productivity
  • labour law
  • military junta
  • varieties of capitalism
  • pluralism

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