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Title: Building workers' power against globally mobile capital : case studies from the transnational garment sector
Author: Kumar, Ashok
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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Garment sector trade unions have proved largely powerless to combat hypermobile transnational capital’s systematic extraction of surplus value from the newly industrialized Global South. Optimized conditions for accumulation coupled with the 2005 phase-out of the Multi-Fibre Agreement (MFA) have meant a radical geographic reconfiguration of the globalised garment industry heavily in favour of capital over labour. The thesis approaches the global garment sector from multiple vantage points across the world with the goal of uncovering the obstacles to workers' organisation, examine workers' strategies of resistance, and analyse the changing composition of labour and capital within the clothing commodity chain. The thesis highlights five distinct but interconnected case studies including a transnational workers campaign from a garment factory in Honduras; a history and present-day feasibility of establishing a transnational collective bargaining from El Salvador to Turkey to Cambodia; the prospects for a countermovement in the organizing strategies at the bottom of the clothing commodity and supply chain in Bangalore; the growth of a 'full package' denim manufacturer in changing the relationship between 'buyers' and 'suppliers' on the outskirts of Bangalore; and finally a continuation of this analysis the case of a strike at a monopoly footwear supplier in China. The central research question is: How do workers build power and establish workers' rights in the globally hypermobile garment sector? Ultimately, what is demonstrated within this thesis is that the actions of garment workers shaped and circumscribed the actions of capital in the sector, and as capital transformed new landscapes for accumulation new vistas for opposition begin to emerge.
Supervisor: McDowell, Linda Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Labour economics ; Industrial economics ; Development economics ; International business ; Organisational behaviour ; Globalisation ; Global ; Asia ; Latin America ; History ; global value chains ; labour movements ; workers' rights ; globalization ; garment sector