Carli Melo, Graduate Program in Geography, York University
The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated the vulnerability of global production networks as supply chains in all sectors have been disrupted by worldwide lockdowns. The impacts of such disruption have been especially devastating for industrial workers in the global South. What has been less noticed is that many such workers are migrants, either internally from other regions of the same country or internationally across borders. The employment of migrant workers has further implications because it means that the impacts of global production networks extend not just to the factories in which goods are made, but also to the distant places of origin from which migrants are drawn, to which they often send their earnings, and to which they will often later return. In Thailand, the employment of Myanmar migrant workers in global production networks, and the everyday lives of these workers and their families, have been disrupted not only by the COVID-19 pandemic, but also by a coup d’état in Myanmar. Drawing on a preliminary literature review conducted for my doctoral research proposal and my involvement in a collaborative research project with the Mekong Migration Network, this paper will explore some of the impacts of these political, social, and economic crises on Myanmar migrant workers in Thailand and on their families in their places of origin.
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