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Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1344;

Decent Work in the Chinese Apparel Industry: Comparative Analysis of Blue-Collar and White-Collar Garment Workers

College of Fashion and Design, Donghua University, Shanghai 200051, China
School of Materials, The University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
Key Laboratory of Clothing Design and Technology, Ministry of Education, Shanghai 200051, China
Shanghai Style Fashion Design and Value Creation Collaborative Innovation Center, Donghua University, Shanghai 200051, China
Shanghai Institute of Design and Innovation, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 June 2017 / Revised: 24 July 2017 / Accepted: 28 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Issues in the Textile and Apparel Supply Chains)
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Addressing labor issues in the apparel industry is significantly important due to customers’ increasing awareness of poor working conditions and growing labor crises in apparel production locations worldwide. Decent work is a key element to achieving fair and harmonious employment, but is not always evident in global apparel production networks. This study examines the working conditions in China’s garment manufacturing industry, which employs more than 10 million workers. A survey was administered to 313 blue-collar workers and 228 white-collar workers on issues related to decent work, including workers’ concerns, satisfaction levels and attitudes towards decent work. Regression analysis showed that workers’ attitudes are significantly related to age, education level, service length and monthly wage. Gap analysis revealed poor understanding of decent work and low satisfaction with primary indicators of decent work. However, results suggest that workers increasingly value soft factors and the overall work experience, not only financial benefits. Cluster analysis identified four clusters of workers. This study contributes to understanding garment worker perceptions of decent work and provides implications for the operationalization of decent work in China’s garment manufacturing industry. View Full-Text
Keywords: decent work; garment manufacturing; blue-collar workers; white-collar workers; China decent work; garment manufacturing; blue-collar workers; white-collar workers; China

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Chen, C.; Perry, P.; Yang, Y.; Yang, C. Decent Work in the Chinese Apparel Industry: Comparative Analysis of Blue-Collar and White-Collar Garment Workers. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1344.

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