Contract Labour in Global Garment Supply Chains
Chan, Man-Kwun.
November, 2013
Publication Type:
Research Paper

Contract Labour Laws Report, 2013Subtitle: Key Characteristics and Recent Trends


Contract workers – those employed by a third party rather than directly by the factory or enterprise where they work – are commonly found in global garment supply chains, yet remain largely ignored and poorly understood as a specific category of workers.


This report presents key findings from a study commissioned by WIEGO to start redressing this imbalance. Drawing on existing literature as well as interviews with 12 key informants, the study identifies:

  • the prevalence and drivers of contract labour (CL) use in key sourcing countries
  • key characteristics of labour contractors, of contract workers (CWs), and of the contractual relationships between the two 
  • key changes in use and characteristics of CL since the onset of the global financial crisis 
  • ongoing research and action needed to address these issues

The report is aimed at key stakeholders who, alongside labour contractors and garment suppliers, are in the strongest position to take action in support of CWs: relevant trade union organizations, international workers’ rights organizations, garment brands and retailers, development donors and practitioners, and researchers. 

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