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Globalisation and poverty: impacts on households of employment and restructuring in the textiles industry of South Africa

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  • Andries Bezuidenhout

    (Sociology of Work Unit, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa)

  • Grace Khunou

    (Sociology of Work Unit, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa)

  • Sarah Mosoetsa

    (Sociology of Work Unit, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa)

  • Kirsten Sutherland

    (School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK)

  • John Thoburn

    (School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK)

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    Abstract

    This paper addresses an important but often neglected theme in debates on globalisation-the consequences for workers of engagement in global markets, particularly for those workers who are retrenched in the process. Using the South African textiles industry as a case study, the paper investigates the impact on workers' household livelihoods of industrial restructuring following trade liberalisation in the 1990s. Interviews with textile workers and retrenched textile workers were conducted in five locations in three provinces-the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal-in order to capture different local dynamics. Workers employed in textiles generally enjoy a relatively stable formal sector wage, which, though less than the manufacturing average, is well above the national poverty line. However, the benefits were not evenly spread between the regions and job insecurity has been increasing. Workers retrenched from textile employment have faced extreme difficulties in a country with exceptionally high levels of open unemployment, and many families have fallen into deep poverty, which may now be transmitted intergenerationally. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/jid.1308
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of International Development.

    Volume (Year): 19 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 5 ()
    Pages: 545-565

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:19:y:2007:i:5:p:545-565

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    Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/5102/home

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Aliber, Michael, 2003. "Chronic Poverty in South Africa: Incidence, Causes and Policies," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 473-490, March.
    2. Moser, Caroline O. N., 1998. "The asset vulnerability framework: Reassessing urban poverty reduction strategies," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 1-19, January.
    3. Simon Roberts & John T. Thoburn, 2004. "Globalization and the South African textiles industry: impacts on firms and workers," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(1), pages 125-139.
    4. L. Alan Winters & Neil McCulloch & Andrew McKay, 2004. "Trade Liberalization and Poverty: The Evidence So Far," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(1), pages 72-115, March.
    5. Lawrence Edwards, 2004. "A firm level analysis of trade, technology and employment in South Africa," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(1), pages 45-61.
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