Labour in the Clothing Industry in the Asia Pacific

The clothing industry provides employment for 60 million workers worldwide. More than a quarter of these workers are employed in the Asia-Pacific region, where the industry is based on subcontracted production on behalf of international buyers. Rapid movements of manufacturing activity from country to country in search of cost advantages make clothing workers part of a globalizing labour market where they increasingly suffer from job insecurity. This book presents carefully researched case studies which highlight the ways in which labour is informalized, fragmented and made disposable by the globalization of production. Chapters address issues pertaining to rights and citizenship, and new forms of activism and organization in conjunction and coordination with diverse support groups, consumers, and wider global campaigns. Contributors further examine the role of the nation state, government regulatory bodies, as well as independent monitoring systems such as the International Labour Organization. Although there has been considerable effort directed to understanding how firms operate across multiple countries – in studies of the organization of global production networks, and the implications for complexities of scale, (de)territorialization and state development projects – there has been far less focus on how these processes produce precarious labour and reshape worker consciousness. Offering new insights into the understanding and support of workers in the global textile and garment industry, this book will be of interest to academics in a variety of disciplines including Asian Studies, sociology, political economy, development, human rights, labour and gender.

About the Author

Dr Vicki Crinis is Associate Researcher with the Law, Humanities and Creative Arts Faculty at the University of Wollongong, where she previously held a Postdoctoral Fellowship as part of an Australian Research Council Discovery Project on the garment industry in the Asia-Pacific. Her research focuses on the global clothing industry, trade unions and migrant workers in Malaysia, and she has published some book chapters and journal articles on female labour, sweatshops in the clothing industry, NGOs and trade unions, CSR labour rights and human rights. Professor Adrian Vickers holds a personal chair at the University of Sydney, and researches and publishes on the cultural history of Southeast Asia. He has held a series of ARC grants, the most recent looking at Indonesian art, the Cold War, and labour and industry in Southeast Asia. As part of a linkage grant on the history of Balinese painting, he has created a virtual museum, continuing previous pioneering work in eResearch and teaching. His books include the highly popular Bali: A Paradise Created (new edition 2012), A History of Modern Indonesia (new edition 2013) and Balinese Art: Paintings and Drawings of Bali, 1800-2010 (2012). Professor Vickers has recently been a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, the National University of Singapore, a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Joint Centre for History and Economics at the University of Cambridge, and a Visiting Fellow at Magdalene College, Cambridge. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

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