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CREW RESEARCH SEMINAR SERIES 2020/21 (University of Greenwich)

Sustainability in the Fast Fashion Value Chains? The Role of Worker Opposition and Local Activism

Date: Wednesday 30th September 2020

Time:  2 - 4 pm

Online meeting link in Zoom:

he demand for cheap and fast fashion and the associated tragic human disasters have driven into public debate the issue of the human and environmental cost of the garment industry. The low and decreasing prices we pay in stores are indicative of an industry that exploits workers, including paying unfair wages. Global brands lack transparency about working conditions in their global production networks, so labour costs remain hidden in the global garment industry. While it is suggested that global brands should take more responsibility to stop worker rights violations in their supply chains and improve workers’ situations, including monitoring their lower-tier garment factories, of growing importance is the need to understand the position and value of labour in different countries. Understanding  labour as workers having active agency (Rainnie et al., 2011) opens up research and debates about  the relationship between the labour process and supply chains (Hammer and Plugor, 2019), the role of workers’ actions and activism in reshaping global production networks (Newsome et al. 2015; Coe and Hess, 2013; Anner, 2015; Bain and Palpacuer, 2012) and the ethical positioning of key players in the industry.


This seminar brings together researchers working in the area with expertise in several countries, to open a discussion about the possibilities of a sustainable industry and the role and cost of labour, in a critical context. 



Dr Jean Jenkins, Professor in Employment Relations, Cardiff University: ‘Meaningful access to remedy denied

Dr Nikolaus Hammer, Associate Professor in Work and Employment, University of Leicester: ‘Restructuring and resilience in UK apparel'

 Dr Safak Tartanoglu Bennett, CREW, University of Greenwich: ‘Formulating local activism in the supplier countries in global garment value chains’

About the Speakers:

Professor Jean Jenkins is a Professor in Employment Relations at Cardiff University. Her teaching, research and writing is concerned with employment relations in the global economy. She focuses mainly on labour rights, collective representation and conditions of work and working time in low paid employment, with a specialism in the international garment sector. A commitment to social justice in work and employment informs her teaching and research. 

Dr Nikolaus Hammer is an Associate Professor in Work and Employment at University of Leicester. His research investigates the impact of globalisation, notably the restructuring of global value chains and production networks, on work and employment. This includes aspects such as the labour process in fast fashion production in the UK as well as the role of social standards in the governance of global value chains (e.g. International Framework Agreements and social standards more broadly).

Dr Safak Tartanoglu Bennett is a Research Fellow at CREW, University of Greenwich. Her research focuses on aspects of work and employment relations, control and resistance mechanisms in organisations and informal ways of worker representation. Her current research interests include worker opposition, collective actions and resistance mechanisms in global garment production networks. She is contributing to the debate with a supplier country (Turkey) perspective and investigating the issue with an understanding of collective actions in their political and social context.

This is a free seminar, open to the public and all are invited, but please can you inform us if you are planning to attend as numbers are currently limited to 100 by the online platform. Please email:   Dr Safak Tartanoglu Bennett,


14th September 2020