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Lookup NU author(s): Professor Alexandra Hughes
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).
This paper evaluates ways in which labour issues in global value chains for medical gloves have been affected by, and addressed through, the COVID-19 pandemic. It focuses on production in Malaysia and supply to the United Kingdom's National Health Service and draws on a large-scale survey with workers and interviews with UK government officials, suppliers and buyers. Adopting a Global Value Chain (GVC) framework, the paper shows how forced labour endemic in the sector was exacerbated during the pandemic in the context of increased demand for gloves. Attempts at remediation are shown to operate through both a reconfigured value chain in which power shifted dramatically to the manufacturers and a context where public procurement became higher in profile than ever before. It is argued that the purchasing power of governments must be leveraged in ways that more meaningfully address labour issues, and that this must be part of value chain resilience.
Author(s): Hughes A, Brown JA, Trueba M, Trautrims A, Bostock B, Day E, Hurst R, Bhutta MF
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Global Networks
Print publication date: 01/01/2023
Online publication date: 22/01/2022
Acceptance date: 16/12/2021
Date deposited: 20/12/2021
ISSN (print): 1470-2266
ISSN (electronic): 1471-0374
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
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