Grappling with Democracy
Ann L. Monotti
Alex de Ruyter, Muhammad Irfan Syaebani, Riani Rachmawati, David Bailey and Tonia Warnecke
This chapter explores the labour market experiences of vendors (particularly street vendors), a prominent category of informal worker. Accordingly, the chapter reports on findings of interviews with vendors in the Greater Jakarta region of Indonesia, so as to shed light on the aspects of labour market vulnerability that they face, and hence highlight some lessons for labour law enforcement. The findings of the research provide insights on the issues affecting workers in these sectors and, more importantly, inform policy-makers and practitioners on the effectiveness of regulation to cover informal sector workers in Indonesia and in a wider context.
The current system of employment and social protection is increasingly regarded as favouring insiders and providing inadequate protection for those engaged in care work, and for the increasing numbers employed under non-standard contracts or under complex employment relationships spanning organizational boundaries. There is pressure from the mainstream to deregulate or from social policy circles to focus on universal social protection, not dependent on employment status. This chapter argues for an approach which combines more universal social protection with increased obligations on employers to extend protection across a wider variety of employment statuses. This combined approach is necessary as social protection is not sustainable if employers pass on too many decommodification costs to the state. Furthermore, employment regulation serves multiple functions, not only income and social protection: eight functions of employment regulation are identified and reforms proposed to make the regulation more inclusive and to promote employer responsibility.
In this chapter three interconnected arguments are put forward. Firstly, reflection upon the impacts of migration law upon labour law’s conception and regulation (or non-regulation) of ‘informal work’ produces significant insights into the analytical complexity and imprecision of the conception and the regulation of informal work (the ‘imprecision argument’). Secondly, reflection on the labour-law-generated and migration-law-generated model(s) of informal work discloses a particular set of normative ambiguities about the culpability of the worker for being engaged in informal work which has very important implications for the ways in which informal work is regulated (or not regulated) (the ‘normative ambiguity argument’). Thirdly, some suggestions are advanced as to how to construct an appropriate regulatory response to those insights, canvassing some ideas for improving the worker-protective regulation of informal work in ways which are inclusive of migrant workers rather than unduly exclusive of undocumented workers (the ‘argument for inclusiveness’).