Nicola Smit, Elmarie Fourie, 'Extending Protection to Atypical Workers, Including Workers in the Informal Economy, in Developing Countries' (2010) 26 International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations, Issue 1, pp. 43–60
This paper takes as its starting point the fact that atypical employment and work in informal sector is a growing rather than a passing phenomenon, especially in developing countries. In countries such as South Africa, ‘atypical’ employment is in fact typical for sectors such as domestic labour, the construction industry and agriculture. With union coverage for atypical workers at extremely low levels, unions need to focus not just on wage negotiations with employers, but also on social and political bargaining in favour of legislation to promote labour and social protection, such as the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security of 2008 in India. The paper also highlights the role of mutual aid associations, such as the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in India, and the unsuccessful attempt to replicate this experience with the Self-Employed Women’s Union (SEWU) in South Africa. In addition to India and South Africa, the paper casts light on recent developments in Namibia and Tanzania, and points to the low level of ratification of International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions in developing countries. The authors argue in their conclusions that labour law must be adapted and extended to protect all those in need of protection, meaning that labour law (including international labour law) must reinvent itself to remain relevant.
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