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Chang-Hee Lee

China’s traditional industrial relations system went through crisis in the 1990s and early 2000s, with the dismantling of the lifelong employment regime of the state-owned enterprises. Informality and inequality increased. The Chinese state responded to the crisis by expanding formal institutions of industrial relations and adopting macro policies designed to arrest informalization and widening income gaps. There are signs that the new industrial relations institutions are delivering marginal gains for workers. There are also signs of ‘hybrid’ representation of workers at workplaces in Southern China. However, it has been difficult to connect institutions and voice. The national system of industrial relations continues to be premised on a representational monopoly of one union. This has limited the potentially positive effect of new labour market and industrial relations institutions on labour market outcomes.

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Susan Hayter and Nicolas Pons-Vignon

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Janine Berg and Eduardo Schneider

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Susan Hayter

Industrial relations is as relevant in emerging economies as it is in developed economies. The chapter examines the institutionalization of employment relations in five emerging economies: Brazil, China, India, South Africa and Turkey. The analysis reveals patterns of continuity and discontinuity. Many features of industrial relations remain path-dependent despite significant changes in the economic and political context in each of these countries. Democratic transition and the incorporation of organized labour and employers expanded the influence of these actors on economic and social policy. However, the liberalization of product and service markets placed pressure on industrial relations institutions. The degree to which these institutions have been able to contribute to inclusive development depended on a balance of associational and institutional power. This determined their capacity to influence labour and social policy at a macro level and to regulate flexibility at the workplace. High degrees of unemployment and informal employment pose internal constraints on industrial relations institutions and limit their potential to contribute to inclusive outcomes. This is compounded by a deepening representational gap and the increasing heterogeneity among members of employers’ and workers’ organizations. Without a concerted effort to expand labour protection through institutions for labour relations to all those who work, industrial relations will continue to be eroded and constrained in its ability to contribute to inclusive development.

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Industrial Relations in Emerging Economies

The Quest for Inclusive Development

Edited by Susan Hayter and Chang-Hee Lee

This book examines industrial and employment relations in the emerging economies of Brazil, China, India, South Africa and Turkey, and assesses the contribution of industrial relations institutions to inclusive development. The book uses real-world examples to examine the evolution of industrial relations and of organised interest representation on labour issues. It reveals contested institutional pathways, despite a continuing demand for independent collective interest representation in labour relations.
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Aziz Çelik

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Uma Rani and Ratna Sen

India has experienced an impressive annual growth rate of nearly 7 per cent since the mid-1990s. Yet this has not led to improvements in the quality of employment and the proportion of low-paid workers has increased over the decade to 2012 along with increasing inequality. The period has also seen an increase in informalization of industrial labour in India associated with greater use of subcontracting and contractual and temporary workers. This chapter assesses the role of industrial relations institutions in improving productivity, wages and incomes for workers. At the same time, it shows that collective bargaining has remained limited in scope and restricted to the formal sector. While there have been some attempts to reach out to workers in the informal sector, these have focused on securing basic welfare rights. The chapter examines emerging labour relations institutions that are delivering improvements to informal workers. It argues that to be more inclusive, the organizational basis for collective labour relations needs to be strengthened, drawing on new forms of voice in the informal sector.

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Maarten van Klaveren and Kea Tijdens

This chapter aims to assess the size of informal employment from a gender perspective, focusing on industries with large shares of women workers and based on evidence from 14 countries. In these countries informal work was predominantly found in the agricultural sector. With a decreasing share of agriculture in total employment and a stable share of women, in the 2000s women’s informal employment decreased overall. The (further) shift of employment out of agriculture may be crucial for reducing vulnerable employment. However, in most countries this shift only partly translates into less vulnerable and higher value added activities, in particular in view of the characteristics of employment in commerce. The authors note that the lack of employment data on agriculture in national statistics hampers insight in the constraints for women of this major transformation, notably in terms of infrastructural provisions and basic services needed.

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Leah F. Vosko, John Grundy and Mark P. Thomas

The growth of precarious employment has drawn attention to a mounting crisis in employment standards enforcement, as mechanisms within traditional employment law are increasingly ineffective at ensuring protection for workers in precarious jobs. This growing enforcement crisis has coincided with the adoption of new regulatory strategies that show an increasing influence of regulatory new governance. Using reforms in four jurisdictions as illustrative examples, and set in the context of the employment standards enforcement crisis, this chapter raises serious concerns around the emergence of new modes of regulatory governance. The authors argue that new modes of regulation that fail to account adequately for the power dynamics of the employment relationship risk entrenching processes of regulatory degradation. In light of this failure, the chapter outlines four principles for more effective employment standards regulation that aim to balance aspects of traditional regulatory models with a selective application of more promising elements of regulatory new governance with the primary aim of ensuring regulatory protection for workers in precarious jobs.

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Fabio Bertranou and Luis Casanova

This chapter examines employment formalization in Argentina from 2003 to 2014 as well as the public policies associated with that process. It identifies the critical segments of informality along with the challenges they pose to a strategy aimed at reducing informality in a labour market that has proven relatively resistant to such reductions in recent years. The results show a decrease in informality for salaried employment, although there has not been a similar decrease among the self-employed. After a significant drop in non-registered salaried employment between 2003 and 2008, slower formal employment growth has offset advances in formalization. Informality affects nearly 44 per cent of all employed individuals. The need to develop specific actions as part of a comprehensive strategy is due to the characteristics of the critical segments of the labour market and the persistence of a heterogeneous productive structure.