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    A race from the bottom? Lessons from a workers’ struggle at a Bangalore warehouse

    Kumar, Ashok (2018) A race from the bottom? Lessons from a workers’ struggle at a Bangalore warehouse. Competition & Change , ISSN 1024-5294. (In Press)

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    Abstract

    This paper analyses the emergence of the ‘full package’ firm in India and its implications for workers’ strategies. A ‘full package’ firm expands outward, from low-value assembly-only products to high-value specialized garment production; consolidating under one roof. Historically, geographic and political barriers separated centres of value-creation (producers) and value-capture (brands and retailers) in the global garment sector. However, enhanced value-capture at the point of production has led to considerable consolidation organizationally, giving an increasingly symbiotic character to relationships within ‘buyer driven’ supply chains. Though this change aggregates the bargaining power of workers, it also introduces new obstacles to workers’ organization. The concomitant rise of supplier-end value capture allows garment trade unions to nonetheless demand greater shares. Thus, previously unviable modes and methods have become available to workers engaged in struggles with their employers in the globalized garment sector. This paper examines a protracted workers’ struggle in light of this process. In doing so, the paper demonstrates that codes of conduct and auditing alone cannot significantly impact labour standards because the needs of capital accumulation are greater than the threat posed by any auditing program or code. Ultimately, the paper demonstrates that labour rights within the garment GVC will not arrive through a rights-based approach -- though strong codes of conduct and independent auditing can assist -- but rather through a combination of an increased power of suppliers vis-à-vis buyers, greater workers' bargaining power with their direct employers, and -- critically -- workers' self organization.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Labour, global value chains, codes of conduct, bargaining power, consolidation
    School: School of Business, Economics & Informatics > Management
    Research Centres and Institutes: Innovation Management Research, Birkbeck Centre for
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2018 08:16
    Last Modified: 11 Feb 2021 18:58
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/25391

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