Democratization beyond the nation-state level has been on the scholarly agenda of international political economists since the early 1990s. Academic debates have generated a mushrooming literature on the ‘democratic deficit’ of global governance. In the field of industrial relations, scholarly interest on the relevance of democracy has translated into a rich body of literature on workplace democracy. Yet, research has been concerned with the national and local levels largely neglecting the transnational dimension. This article discusses the potential of International Framework Agreements (IFAs) to address the democratic deficit of the global governance of labour. In doing so, it borrows notions largely established in the field of international political economy and applies them to an industrial relations problem (i.e. impact of IFAs on the ground) drawing on case-study evidence from three IFAs in the telecoms, energy and apparel sectors. The article examines what accounts for IFAs’ capacity for representation, legitimacy, accountability and transparency.