In a world where we produce enough food to feed.
This trend, says the International Labour Office in a new report Endnote 1 has been accompanied by a parallel shift of production from the formal to the informal sector in many countries with generally negative consequences on wage levels and conditions of work. The available evidence, however, also suggests that globalization has led to a net gain in the level of worldwide employment and that the informal sector promotes "a growing volume of employment in developing countries, especially in clothing and footwear".
And, as the report also points out, employment in formal sector establishments has changed very little sincewhile real earnings have in fact risen in several industrialized countries.
The total number of TCF workers in the formal sector is estimated at Written by staff from the ILO Sectoral activities department, the report will serve as a basis for discussions by participants in a "Tripartite Meeting on the Globalization in the Footwear, Textiles and Clothing Industries" held in Geneva from 28 October to 1 November.
Delegates to the meeting represent the governments, employers' organizations and trade unions from 34 leading TCF producing, exporting and importing countries. The meeting will discuss labour and employment issues relevant to the TCF industries and is expected to provide guidance for national and international action to promote employment, basic workers' rights and sound working conditions throughout the sector.
Much of production capacity and jobs have shifted to the developing world. China now employs 5. During the same year period, employment in the developed world declined sharply. The US still employs 1. The decline has been even more severe in Northern Europe.
In the 10 years between andFinland lost 73 percent of its TCF jobs. Sweden and Norway lost 65 percent. While the evidence presented in the report "contradicts - for the formal sector - the hypothesis that globalization leads to real earnings compression in the higher-income countries", it also points to a "widening earnings gap between TCF workers in higher- and lower-income countries.
In response to fast-changing demand patterns, the TCF industries have witnessed a gradual "shift of full-time in-plant jobs to part-time and temporary jobs and, especially in clothing and footwear, increasing recourse to home work and small shops" notes the ILO report.
Wages of homeworkers are almost universally based on the piece rate system and tend to be substantially lower than for equivalent factory workers. The first, and to date only, international Convention No. Of late however, rising pressure from consumer groups, but also from governments, trade unions, employers' organizations and NGOs has begun to reverse this trend.
Among other significant measures: In the clothing industry, the number of clandestine workshops has grown exponentially in recent years. Few pay any respect to labour legislation and many hire illegal migrants. Many are involved in counterfeiting products from famous trade marks, an activity estimated to account for more the 5 percent of world trade in clothing.
The impact of the globalization of TCF differs according to country and the individual industry. Clothing At present, more than 60 percent of world clothing exports are manufactured in developing countries.
Asia is the major world supplier today, producing more than 32 percent of the world's clothing exports. This emergence as the major world supplier has occurred in three successive waves of production.
During the first wave of production, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, the territory of Hong Kong and Taiwan achieved excellent results within their own borders, but then began to cut down production and invest heavily in other least-cost countries. As a result, between andthe production of the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia increased greatly and led the world market in exports.
These countries have in turn begun to invest or redistribute part of their production to a third wave of countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and more recently Laos, Nepal and Viet Nam.
China however, has become the leading world producer and supplier of clothing - currently generating almost 13 percent of the world supply - without the benefit of outsourcing from other countries. Instead, the country has thrived under a government policy geared toward developing a clothing and textiles industry open to the outside world.
In addition, foreign investors who had anticipated the signing of the free trade agreement, have built up the clothing industry in Mexico which, with its 8, clothing enterprises, is in a strong position against its Latin American competitors.
Sincethe place left empty by the former Yugoslavia has prompted foreign investors and entrepreneurs to shift their activities to other countries.
Croatia, the Russian Federation, Slovenia and Ukraine have thus become host countries for the relocated activities of European clothing industrialists. In several instances, ultra-modern factories capable of holding their own against their most successful Western counterparts have been constructed to ensure that they can produce articles complying with European quality standards.
Morocco, Mauritius, Tunisia and more recently Madagascar, have become important clothing producers which export most of their production to industrialized countries.Susmita Baral joined Latin Times in April Her work has been published in VICE, Weight Watchers Magazine, Unique Homes Magazine, US Airways Magazine, Vista Magazine, Daily Glow and Kaplan.
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