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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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Aziz Çelik

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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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Janine Berg and Eduardo Schneider

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Susan Hayter and Nicolas Pons-Vignon

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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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G. Honor Fagan

Access to water resources is a vital component of any international development framework that seeks to eradicate poverty and address global socio-economic inequities. The shifting approaches taken to the question of water over the past 30 years neatly reflects the changes, continuities and challenges in the evolution of development policy itself. The negotiation around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has shown the limitations and contradictions of the international development agenda, and none has shown those limitations more so than the water goals. This chapter argues that we are in an era of the global ‘water grab’ with ten major firms controlling water in over 100 countries. It is increasingly unlikely that the water goals will be delivered, based as they are on a public-private partnership model. This may best express the failure of global international development policy itself to deliver on meeting basic needs, given what remains a non-transformative economic growth model.

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Christopher A. McNally

China provides an incisive example of a society that experimented during the twentieth century with perhaps every major social development model in existence at that time. Contemporary China has seen the most expansive, rapid and sustained industrialization in human history, creating opportunities for massive wealth accumulation. But in the same historical time span, Chinese breakneck growth has created some of the largest socio-economic inequalities on earth, massive environmental degradation, and a cultural no-man’s land of materialism and consumerism in the world’s oldest continuous civilization. Perhaps most intriguingly, China’s experiences have not corresponded to the standard Western prescriptions for economic development based on liberal markets and politics; neither have they adapted the insights of the post-development and post-globalization perspectives to inspire a new course of development. This chapter illuminates the broad development debates through a systematic review of China’s development path(s).

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Philip McMichael

In a world increasingly challenged by structural unemployment, environmental degradation and climate emergency, the modern development paradigm appears increasingly bankrupt. While development agencies and policy-makers recognize the threats of declining biodiversity and rising greenhouse gas emissions, they are beholden to the idea of ‘sustainable development’, as if there now remains sufficient natural world to sustain. ‘Sustainable development’ focuses on sustaining ‘development’ in a compromised environment, rather than on how to actually rehabilitate degraded ecosystems, and sustain them with ecological development. In order to sustain natural cycles, development itself needs a fundamental reformulation as an ecological, rather than an economic, paradigm. This chapter addresses this issue via a critique of extant visions of development as ‘ecologically challenged’, that is, as devaluing socio-ecological relationships. In particular, it focuses on the development narrative’s disregard for the integrity of agrarian culture which remains important to sustaining ecosystems and secure and inclusive food provisioning.