© 2015, © Australian Labour and Employment Relations Association (ALERA), SAGE Publications Ltd, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC. Although there has been a proliferation of writing recently on global commodity/value chains and production networks, labour and employment relations have been largely absent or conceived of in a limited manner in these discussions. As a counter to this, we argue for locating employment relations, labour and the labour process at the heart of analysis of both global production networks (GPNs) and of what we are calling global destruction networks (GDNs), which are networks through which commodities move at the purported ends of their lives. We argue that labour shapes the structure of both GPNs and GDNs. Through examining how GDNs – which often involve significant amounts of informal labour – are intimately connected to the operations of GPNs, we also challenge dualistic thinking that perceives some of the work involved in retrieving components from waste for reuse in GPNs as ‘wasted labour’.