Current literature is unclear about how highly governed (i.e. more coordinated/ integrated) value chains may influence the level and chance of improvement in workers’ conditions (e.g. levels of security and voice). This research evaluates and considers labour outcomes (i.e. levels of security and voice) within the Brazilian Orange Juice Value Chain (OJVC). The OJVC in São Paulo, Brazil, is an “old”, vertically coordinated chain that delivers, via three large firms - Cutrale, Citrosuco and Louis Dreyfus Commodities (LDC) - a vast proportion of the world’s orange juice. The methodology used in this research applies indicators of security to various workers (on farms; at factories; for local/regional transporters and in the port) as well as a model of identity to the different unions operating across this chain. A typology and rank of orange chain workers are made based on findings in terms of these indicators. This paper centres on the concept of labour agency as a means to understanding the impacts of value chain inclusion on labour security and voice. The mapping of worker’s levels of security shows labour outcomes as both difficult and varied in form and cause but also that crucial (final) transport workers have considerably better chances for upgrading their conditions. Labour outcomes are also related to unions, which may have space to embark on new local strategies and alliances, if they so choose. Looking at labour identity through identity analysis also shows the problems unions and workers have balancing local level specifics of representation with their “need” to forge global alliances, particularly within chains. Finally, the paper illustrates the value of grounding studies of labour security and agency at the intersection of (highly political and hierarchical) vertical chains and horizontal, local processes of labour control, as suggested by Global Production Network protagonists.

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ISS Working Papers - General Series
ISS Working Paper Series / General Series
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Duarte, R. N., Pegler, L., & Galhera, K. M. (2021). Labour security and agency within the Orange Juice Value Chain (OJVC) in Brazil. ISS Working Paper Series / General Series (Vol. 672). Retrieved from