Between Market, State and Society

Labour Codes of Conduct in the Southern African Garment Industry

Andries Bezuidenhout , Søren Jeppesen

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    This paper compares the way garment factory workers in South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho experience the interaction between mechanisms for inspecting labour codes of conduct and government functions and trade unions. In South Africa and Swaziland there was little awareness of the potential impact of such instruments on working conditions. In Lesotho, where there is a high profile campaign, workers are more aware of the codes, but confusion over who visitors to factories are, and corporate whitewash, limit the impact of instruments. In all three countries workers perceived the impact of codes of conduct on labour rights as negligible. This differed between firms, with workers in firms supplying to the higher end of the South African market being more positive. Given the absence of coherent global governance of trade in the garment industry, codes of conduct will remain an inadequate response to the abuse of workers' rights, worldwide and in southern Africa.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalDevelopment Southern Africa
    Volume28
    Issue number5
    Pages (from-to)653-668
    ISSN0376-835X
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Cite this

    @article{205831216b1b47419b8122605ba868ae,
    title = "Between Market, State and Society: Labour Codes of Conduct in the Southern African Garment Industry",
    abstract = "This paper compares the way garment factory workers in South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho experience the interaction between mechanisms for inspecting labour codes of conduct and government functions and trade unions. In South Africa and Swaziland there was little awareness of the potential impact of such instruments on working conditions. In Lesotho, where there is a high profile campaign, workers are more aware of the codes, but confusion over who visitors to factories are, and corporate whitewash, limit the impact of instruments. In all three countries workers perceived the impact of codes of conduct on labour rights as negligible. This differed between firms, with workers in firms supplying to the higher end of the South African market being more positive. Given the absence of coherent global governance of trade in the garment industry, codes of conduct will remain an inadequate response to the abuse of workers' rights, worldwide and in southern Africa.",
    keywords = "garment industry , market regulation, labour rights, labour codes of conduct, Trade Unions",
    author = "Andries Bezuidenhout and S{\o}ren Jeppesen",
    year = "2011",
    doi = "10.1080/0376835X.2011.623923",
    language = "English",
    volume = "28",
    pages = "653--668",
    journal = "Development Southern Africa",
    issn = "0376-835X",
    publisher = "Routledge",
    number = "5",

    }

    Between Market, State and Society : Labour Codes of Conduct in the Southern African Garment Industry. / Bezuidenhout , Andries; Jeppesen, Søren.

    In: Development Southern Africa, Vol. 28, No. 5, 2011, p. 653-668.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Between Market, State and Society

    T2 - Labour Codes of Conduct in the Southern African Garment Industry

    AU - Bezuidenhout , Andries

    AU - Jeppesen, Søren

    PY - 2011

    Y1 - 2011

    N2 - This paper compares the way garment factory workers in South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho experience the interaction between mechanisms for inspecting labour codes of conduct and government functions and trade unions. In South Africa and Swaziland there was little awareness of the potential impact of such instruments on working conditions. In Lesotho, where there is a high profile campaign, workers are more aware of the codes, but confusion over who visitors to factories are, and corporate whitewash, limit the impact of instruments. In all three countries workers perceived the impact of codes of conduct on labour rights as negligible. This differed between firms, with workers in firms supplying to the higher end of the South African market being more positive. Given the absence of coherent global governance of trade in the garment industry, codes of conduct will remain an inadequate response to the abuse of workers' rights, worldwide and in southern Africa.

    AB - This paper compares the way garment factory workers in South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho experience the interaction between mechanisms for inspecting labour codes of conduct and government functions and trade unions. In South Africa and Swaziland there was little awareness of the potential impact of such instruments on working conditions. In Lesotho, where there is a high profile campaign, workers are more aware of the codes, but confusion over who visitors to factories are, and corporate whitewash, limit the impact of instruments. In all three countries workers perceived the impact of codes of conduct on labour rights as negligible. This differed between firms, with workers in firms supplying to the higher end of the South African market being more positive. Given the absence of coherent global governance of trade in the garment industry, codes of conduct will remain an inadequate response to the abuse of workers' rights, worldwide and in southern Africa.

    KW - garment industry

    KW - market regulation

    KW - labour rights

    KW - labour codes of conduct

    KW - Trade Unions

    U2 - 10.1080/0376835X.2011.623923

    DO - 10.1080/0376835X.2011.623923

    M3 - Journal article

    VL - 28

    SP - 653

    EP - 668

    JO - Development Southern Africa

    JF - Development Southern Africa

    SN - 0376-835X

    IS - 5

    ER -