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Labour Rights in Global Production Networks

Labour Rights in Global Production Networks. An Analysis of the Apparel and Electronics Sector in Romania

by Leonhard Plank, Cornelia Staritz and Karin Lukas
Owner: Chamber of Workers and Employees in Vienna

This report analyses how global production networks are configured and how the incorporation of firms into these networks impacts on the position of workers and their rights.

The apparel and electronics sector in Romania provide the empirical lens to study these questions taking into account broader dynamics in the Central and Eastern European region. Despite important differences (e.g. labour- versus capital-intensiveness, the complexity of the production process or the technology involved) both sectors have been increasingly organised in global production networks, with a global and a regional dimension, involve labour-intensive production steps which have been relocated to countries with lower labour costs and exhibit some similar industry dynamics such as high-competition and ‘fast fashion’-principles as well as labour rights issues.

The strategies of lead firms such as H&M and Zara or Hewlett Packard, Dell and Nokia as well as of powerful first-tier suppliers such as Li & Fung in the apparel and Flextronics in the electronics sector aptly illustrate these dynamics.

Download the report (PDF, 816K)

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