Squeezing workers’ rights in global supply chains

purchasing practices in the Bangladesh garment export sector in comparative perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Workers’ rights violations have been pervasive in many global supply chains. In the apparel sector, production workers often face precarious working conditions, including persistently low pay, excessive and often forced overtime, unsafe buildings, and repression of their right to form unions and bargain collectively. This article explores how purchasing practices of lead firms adversely affect working conditions and workers’ rights in supplier factories. It attributes these trends to a price squeeze and a sourcing squeeze in which lead firms pay increasing lower prices to suppliers while also imposing short lead times and high order volatility. To test this argument, trade data of apparel imports to the United States and the European Union are explored. The article then turns to original surveys of Bangladesh supplier factories and workers carried out in 2016 and 2017. The final section of this paper examines the impact of the squeeze on working conditions and workers’ rights using the Labour Rights Indicators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalReview of International Political Economy
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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Bangladesh
supply
worker
working conditions
supplier
factory
firm
secondary sector
overtime
repression
import
building
Suppliers
Purchasing
Global supply chain
Workers' rights
Working conditions
labor
trend
Apparel

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations

Cite this

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