Book Reviews Book Reviews volume examines the work and progress of two consortia (both set up by global retailers) – the ‘Alliance’ and the ‘Accord’ – which, following the disaster, set up co-operative auditing systems for factories in the supply chain and imposed penalties for non-compliance. Thus, in their Introduction, the editors – Andy Hira, professor of political science at Simon Fraser University, Canada, and Maureen Benson-Rea, associate professor of management and international business at the University of Auckland – note that institutional voids in the area of labour standards are particularly challenging since it is unclear whether multinational corporations are – or even should be – able to bridge the gaps with ‘informal social institutions and social contracts’. In April 2013, the eight-storey Rana Plaza building outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, collapsed. At the time, the building housed five garment factories that manufactured goods for major retail companies in Europe and North America. More than 1,100 people were killed and 2,500 others were injured. It is considered to be the deadliest disaster in the garment industry. The causes included shoddy construction, a building with too many floors and too much heavy equipment for the structure to withstand. The incident shook Bangladesh’s $28 billion garment industry, the second largest in the world behind China. It drew attention to the appalling conditions in which factory employees worked, and raised questions about transparency in the global garment industry. In the wake of the disaster, researchers in the fields of industrial and labour relations began to debate these issues, giving their perspective of how multinationals operating in developing countries should regulate labour standards in order to improve the substandard working conditions under which much of the clothing was made. This book critically explores the efforts of the garment industry to improve safety conditions and suggests governance reforms that should help to resolve lingering issues. The 20 But the need for developing workable models of governance is crucial if similar disasters to the Rana Plaza are to be avoided. Three possible options are considered: (1) Expansion and adjustments to the corporate led model; (2) The reinforcement of public regulation of factories; and (3) Developing a hybrid, cooperative model of public-private governance. Chapter 2, Threads of despair: an argument for the public option in garment governance gives an analysis of the shortcomings of ‘corporate-led’ approaches to support the view that public regulation of factories (option 2) should be further developed. It argues for public solutions since the pressure for change must come from political initiatives created by greater workers’ bargaining power and representation in government. Chapter 3, The legacy of Rana Plaza: improving labour and social standards in Bangladesh’s apparel industry analyses the system of compliance assurance in Bangladesh before the Rana Plaza tragedy took place, and assesses the new institutional and enforcement mechanisms. The contributors set out a detailed explanation of the processes and actors involved. Chapter 4, A governance deficit in the apparel industry in Bangladesh: solutions to the impasse? The contributors begin from a position which says there is an impasse in the safety and health situation in the Bangladesh apparel sector, which stems from a deficit in governance. They suggest that an extended form of Option 3 (see above), with a mix of the three options, is necessary if the problems in the industry are to be tackled. Social governance institutions as September 2017 The RoSPA OS&H Journal well as public and private governance must be included. The final chapter, Anti-consumption and governance in the global fashion industry: transparency is key, brings consumers into the debate, shedding more light on Option 3. Presenting their analysis in the context of new behaviours among increasingly aware consumers, who may well choose to make more informed purchasing decisions and who may even reject products based on companies’ poor practices and reputations, the contributors argue for more transparency in garment supply chains. This chapter also includes a case study of a garment company in Patagonia which illustrates how new practices and values can work in practice. Overall the final chapter points out that the solution ultimately lies in unleashing the power of consumers to demand safety and income standards for the workers who make the products they purchase. Though such a goal may seem remote at present, greater transparency and publicity could well bring it within reach. This is a book that tugs at the conscience. Some people pay extraordinary amounts of money for designer clothing but few would stop to ask themselves how much the workers were paid and what sort of conditions they endured while making them. It is time that consumers start to ask some penetrating questions and shine a light on bad practice. Governing corporate social responsibility in the apparel industry after Rana Plaza. Edited by Anil Hira and Maureen Benson-Rea. Palgrave Macmillan ISBN: 9781137601780. £86 (HB) www.palgrave.com/gb/ Occupational groups most at risk of assaults or threats at work are those in protective service occupations such as police officers, fire service personnel, prison service workers and police community support officers. Following this group of workers, healthcare professionals and health and social care employees and transport workers all face the risk of verbal or physical violence as they go about their daily work. 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