Comparative Labor Law

Comparative Labor Law

Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series

Edited by Matthew W. Finkin and Guy Mundlak

Economic pressure and corporate policies, both transnational and domestic, have placed labor law under severe stress. National responses are so deeply embedded in institutions reflecting local traditions that meaningful comparison is daunting. This book assembles a team of experts from many countries, drawing on a rich variety of comparative methods to capture changes in different countries and regions, emerging trends and national divergences.

Chapter 14: Building BRICS of success?

Sean Cooney, Darcy du Toit, Roberto Fragale, Roger Ronnie and Kamala Sankaran

Subjects: law - academic, comparative law, labour, employment law


This chapter explores the current regulatory challenges in four major countries whose economies have a very significant impact internationally. These countries are China, India, Brazil and South Africa – four of the so-called BRICS, the 2010 rephrased acronym used to refer to the emerging market economies of these four countries plus Russia, after South Africa joined in at its III Summit. The original group, named at the time BRIC, had gathered together in 2006 in order to have some common foreign policy guidelines. Unlike many countries in the developing world, these nations have the expertise, and the political and economic capacity, to determine the orientation of their labour laws. In the case of South Africa and China, in particular, they have made use of these circumstances to embark on many significant labour law reforms; unlike the recent experience of southern Europe, these have not been ‘deregulatory’. Despite the fact that the BRICS constitute a formal grouping, the first response of many readers may be that this discussion involves a comparison of apples and oranges. Undoubtedly their economies are very differently structured; their political trajectories vary enormously; and their legal frameworks have evolved from very different origins. Still, their growing importance in a globalised environment draws everyone’s consideration and stimulates a consideration of the nations as a group. Thus, for all their evident dissimilarities, we set out to investigate whether there is a cluster of similar problems relating to labour and employment law among four of the BRICS states.

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