Threads of Labour: Garment Industry Supply Chains from the Workers’ Perspective Edited by Angela Hale and Jane Wills


Threads of Labour: Garment Industry Supply Chains from the Workers’ Perspective
Edited by Angela Hale and Jane Wills

Threads of Labour

List of Figures vii
List of Tables viii
List of Boxes ix
About the Authors xi
Acknowledgements xiv
Abbreviations and Acronyms xvi
1 Threads of Labour in the Global Garment Industry 1
Jane Wills with Angela Hale
2 The Changing Face of the Global Garment Industry 16
Jennifer Hurley with Doug Miller
3 Organising and Networking in Support of Garment
Workers: Why We Researched Subcontracting Chains 40
Angela Hale
4 Action Research: Tracing the Threads of Labour in the
Global Garment Industry 69
Jane Wills with Jennifer Hurley
5 Unravelling the Web: Supply Chains and Workers’ Lives in
the Garment Industry 95
Jennifer Hurley
6 Coming Undone: The Implications of Garment Industry
Subcontracting for UK Workers 133
Camille Warren
7 The Impact of Full-Package Production on Mexico’s
Blue Jean Capital 161
Lynda Yanz with Bob Jeffcott
8 Defending Workers’ Rights in Subcontracted Workplaces 189
Rohini Hensman
9 The Phase-Out of the Multi-Fibre Arrangement from the
Perspective of Workers 210
Angela Hale with Maggie Burns
10 Conclusion 234
Angela Hale with Jane Wills
References 240
Index 254

1.1 Countries where the research was conducted 2
2.1 World textile and clothing exports 18
2.2 Simplified functions of a garment supply chain 19
2.3 The pyramid/iceberg model of the supply chain 24
2.4 A Gap supply chain 28
5.1 The tiers of production in garment supply chains 98
5.2 The Induico supply chain 110
5.3 The Fanco supply chain 112
5.4 The Benetton supply chain 114
5.5 Diagram of a ‘market-based’ network 115
5.6 Comparative wages in a typical supply chain in Guangdong
Province, China 121
6.1 Typical subcontracting chain of Leeds homeworker 143
6.2 Typical subcontracting chain of Rochdale homeworker 144
6.3 Subcontracting map of the Manchester knitting factories 149
6.4 Typical subcontracting chain of companies that produce
both in the UK and abroad 152
7.1 Map of Mexico showing Tehuacan 162
7.2 The Tehuacan garment industry hierarchy 170

2.1 Major clothing companies in the industrialised countries 22
2.2 Hourly wage rates for selected countries, 2002 33
4.1 The organisations involved in the research and their
research objectives 76
4.2 The main activities following the research 85
5.1 Insourcing and outsourcing to increase production 105
5.2 The differences between local and migrant workers in
Guangdong Province, China 118
9.1 Hourly labour costs including social and fringe benefits
(US$), 1996 218
9.2 Summary of recommendations for action in response
to the end of the MFA (public sector) 230
9.3 Summary of recommendations for action in response
to the end of the MFA (private sector) 231 Boxes
2.1 A Gap supply chain 26
2.2 Export processing zones 35
2.3 The case of Ramatex in Namibia 37
3.1 Organising garment workers in Korea 45
3.2 Sri Lanka: An eye is worth 5 dollars 47
3.3 The Philippines: Campaign in support of a year-long lock-out 48
3.4 The Maria Elena Cuadra Women’s Movement (MEC) in Nicaragua 53
3.5 The September 19th women garment workers’ union in Mexico 54
3.6 Victory at Jaqalanka, Sri Lanka 58
3.7 International links in support of Lesotho garment workers 60
4.1 Research conducted by the Women Workers’ Project (Innabuyog-Metro) Baguio City, Philippines 79
4.2 The research conducted by the Union Research Group, India 81
5.1 Employment conditions at a Tier 1 factory in Thailand 99
5.2 Behind the scenes at Next’s design and sourcing department 102
5.3 Working in a neighbour’s house 103
5.4 An example of homeworking in Guangdong Province, China 106
5.5 An example of homeworking in India 107
5.6 Employee or employer? Subcontracting to family and friends 108
5.7 The gender composition of the garment industry in Bulgaria 117
5.8 The problem of irregular hours of work 124
5.9 Behind the factory door: Health and safety in Bangladeshi factories 126
5.10 Zarina’s and Delowara’s stories 127
5.11 Blacklisted for organising in the Philippines 130
6.1 Homeworking in Leeds 145
6.2 Homeworking in Rochdale 147
6.3 Working in knitwear in Manchester 151
6.4 Working in a garment company with outsourced production abroad 154
9.1 The Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC) 212
9.2 Bangladesh 221
9.3 Sri Lanka 221

AFL-CIO American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial
AGOA African Growth and Opportunity Act
AMT Ayuntamiento Municipal de Tehuacan
ATC Agreement on Textiles and Clothing
B2B business to business
B2C business to customer
CAFTA US/Central American Free Trade Agreement
CAW Committee for Asian Women
CAWN Central America Women’s Network
CCC Clean Clothes Campaign
CCEIA Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs
CMT cut, make and trim
COVERCO Commission for the Verification of Codes of Conduct
CROM Regional Confederation of Mexican Workers
CSR corporate social responsibility
CTM Confederation of Mexican Workers
EMDA East Midlands Development Agency
EPZ export processing zone
ETI Ethical Trading Initiative
FOB free on board
FDI foreign direct investment
FLA Fair Labor Association
FNV Dutch Trade Union Federation
FOW Friends of Women
FROC-CROC Revolutionary Confederation of Workers and
FTZ free trade zone
FTZGSEU Free Trade Zone and General Services Employees’ Union
ICFTU International Confederation of Free Trade Unions
ILO International Labour Organisation
IMSS Social Security Programme of the Mexican Government
ITGLWF International Textile Garment and Leather Workers’
JLCT Junta Local de Conciliacio´n de Tehuacan
KEWWO Kenyan Women Workers’ Organisation
KFAT National Union of Knitwear, Footwear and Apparel
KWWAU Korean Women Workers Associations United
LBL Labour Behind the Label
MEC Maria Elena Cuadra Women’s Movement
MFA Multi-Fibre Arrangement
MNC multinational corporation
MSN Maquila Solidarity Network
NAFTA North America Free Trade Agreement
NGH National Group on Homeworkers
NGO non-governmental organisation
NICWJ National Interfaith Committee for Workers Justice
NMW National Minimum Wage
NWDA North West Development Agency
OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
OI Oxfam International
OPT outward processing trade
RFP request for price
RFQ request for quote
RMALC Mexican Action Network on Free Trade
SCMD State Centre for Municipal Development
SEWA Self-Employed Women’s Association
SITEMEX Independent Union of Mex Mode Workers
SUTIC Garment Industry Workers’ Union
TAG-MEX Tarrant Apparel Group
TCSG Textile and Clothing Strategy Group
TELCO The East London Communities Organisation
T&G Transport and General Workers’ Union
TIE Transnational Information Exchange
TNC transnational corporation
UNCTAD United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
UNDP United Nations Development Programme
URG Union Research Group
USAS United Students Against Sweatshops
WIEGO Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and
WIN Women’s International Network
WTO World Trade Organisation
WWO Working Women’s Organisation
WWRE World Wide Retail Exchange
WWW Women Working Worldwide

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