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    Oligopolistic suppliers, symbiotic value chains and workers’ bargaining power: labor contestation in South China at an ascendant global footwear firm

    Kumar, Ashok (2019) Oligopolistic suppliers, symbiotic value chains and workers’ bargaining power: labor contestation in South China at an ascendant global footwear firm. Global Networks 19 (3), pp. 394-422. ISSN 1470-2266.

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    Abstract

    This paper examines a 2014 strike in South China of Taiwanese footwear giant Yue Yuen to analyze changes in the power relationship between lead firms, manufacturers and workers. The paper demonstrates a connection between increased labor costs and capital consolidation and greater value capture at the bottom of the global supply chain. It is argued that footwear value chains are undergoing a falling degree of monopsony power and an emergence of enormous oligopolistic suppliers, transforming the power imbalances of global supply chains towards a more mutually dependent ‘buyer-producer symbiosis’. The Yue Yuen strike uncovers a maturing industrial working class and pressures on social reproduction in China, adapting its bargaining strategies vis-à-vis the developmental state. Influxes of profit raise the ceiling for what can be demanded of employers, stimulating those same employers to pursue more aggressive means of holding onto their profits. The example of the Yue Yuen strike is an indicator of what are fundamental changes in the production process, dynamics within the value chain, and power and agency of workers in labor-intensive production. The strike demonstrates that consolidation is playing a decisive role in shaping the power relationship between domestic manufacturers and transnational brands, this, in turn, directly affects the bargaining power of workers.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the article, which has been published in final form at the link above. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): China, strike, symbiosis, consolidation, workers, footwear
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Business, Economics & Informatics > Management
    Research Centre: Innovation Management Research, Birkbeck Centre for
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2018 10:05
    Last Modified: 16 Oct 2019 10:48
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/25392

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