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Workplace bullying in apparel sector: Bangladesh

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Many may assume that working conditions in the garment sector of Bangladesh have improved substantially since the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster. Unfortunately, there is a growing body of research that suggests otherwise. In this important article, the authors examine workplace bullying in the context of the intensification of various labour controls, and show why systemic change is needed, raising important questions on who the real bullies are.

Workplace Bullying and Intensification of Labour Controls in the Clothing Supply Chain: Post-Rana Plaza Disaster

Peer-reviewed research by: Md Shoaib Ahmed and Shahzad Uddin

This article examines workplace bullying and the intensification of labour controls in the clothing supply chain. It appears that extreme forms of bullying are deployed to intensify labour controls, including locking workers in, frequent wage cuts, setting moveable targets and carrying out intense observations. The context of this study is surplus value-starved clothing factories in Bangladesh. Global supply chains’ production regimes and the absence of state protections and trade unions enable factory managers to systematically deploy bullying tactics to achieve production targets. Drawing on Burawoy’s works, this article advances the debate of how workplace bullying is impacted by wider structural conditions with managerial strategies of coercion in factories. It is argued here that when the state intervenes in the factory only to protect and preserve capitalists’ interests, explicitly and implicitly, coercive strategies of control turn into extreme bullying on the shopfloor.

Click here to read the full open-access article, published in 2022 in the peer-reviewed journal Work, Employment and Society.

Full Reference //

Ahmed, M. S., & Uddin, S. (2022). Workplace Bullying and Intensification of Labour Controls in the Clothing Supply Chain: Post-Rana Plaza Disaster. Work, Employment and Society, 36(3), 539–556.

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