ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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How Places Matter

Understanding Workers’ Responses to Garment Factory Closures during the Pandemic in Bengaluru and Srirangapatna

The paper looks at the phenomenon of forced resignations in the garment industry in Karnataka during the pandemic. It demonstrates how workers’ responses to forced resignations were determined by whether they were located in the city (Bengaluru) or a small town (Srirangapatna) and calls for an engagement with the local geographies to understand the experiences of women garment workers.

 

The authors wish to thank Vinay Sreenivasa, K R Jayaram, Rakesh Mehar, Yamini Krishna, Savitha Suresh, and the two anonymous reviewers for their comments on the paper.
 

The economic distress faced by garment workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated lockdowns has sparked much global activism. Meticulous documentation has shown the extent to which workers were underpaid during the pandemic (Clean Clothes Campaign 2020), the ways in which brands abdicated on their commitments to workers (Khambay and Narayanaswamy 2020) and the impact of these actions on workers’ access to income and nutrition (Workers’ Rights Consortium 2020). Such work has rightly foregrounded the distressed woman worker and has sought amelioration from rich and powerful transnational apparel corporations. In doing so, such activism in the garment sector has continued its northward orientation, addressing apparel corporations and their consumers in the global North—an orientation that has borne fruit in some instances.1

 

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Updated On : 31st Jan, 2022
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