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This monograph investigates current issues in labour law enforcement from a socio-legal perspective. It analyses how local Italian enforcement actors promote the protection of workers in Prato – a city that in recent decades has seen a significant influx of Chinese migrants who run small workshops as part of the local clothing industry. Many of the Chinese firms in Prato fail to live up to core labour standards, such as maximum working hours, safety and health at work and payment of social security contributions. The book analyses the strategies and practices employed by three local enforcement actors (labour inspectors, labour unionists and a new type of labour law consultant) in their efforts to assist Chinese firms in improving their level of labour law compliance.
Combining documentary, interview and observational data, the book applies theories of legal culture and legal development to address the interaction between law and society. It focuses on the operational aspects of law by asking three interrelated research questions: How do local enforcement actors promote the protection of workers in Chinese firms in Prato? Which tools are employed, and which rationalities drive the initiatives? The book thereby sheds light upon processes of legal cultural adaptation, informing ongoing international and national debates about what can actually be done to combat contemporary gaps in the protection of workers.