The clothing industry in Durban has gone through dramatic changes in the last decades. After being built up under heavy tariff protection, they are now faced with increased competition after a shift towards neo-liberal policies. This has altered the governance structure in the value chain, were retailers can choose other sourcing channels than Durban.
Firstly, the thesis wants to explore the factors that deteriorate competitiveness of the manufacturers, and then how these affect their position in the value chain. Secondly, to analyse what strategies the manufacturers use to stay competitive, and thirdly, how these affect employment opportunities in the Durban labour market.
The aim of the thesis is to contribute to the literature that reveals an incompatibility between labour protection and trade liberalisation in labour-intensive industries. This has been apparent after the break down of Fordism, leaving labour costs subject to competition. The competitive pressure in Durban, combined with relatively high labour costs, has made manufacturers search for strategies that avoid the responsibility of labour.