In 2002 the International Labour Organization issued a report titled ‘Decent work and the informal economy’ in which it stressed the need to ensure appropriate employment and income, rights at work, and effective social protection in informal economic activities. Such a call by the ILO is urgent in the context of countries such as India, where the majority of workers are engaged in informal economic activities, and where expansion of informal economic activities is coupled with deteriorating working conditions and living standards.
This book explores the informal economic activity of India as a case study to examine typical requirements in the work-lives of informal workers, and to develop a means to institutionalise the promotion of these requirements through labour law. Drawing upon Amartya Sen’s theoretical outlook, the book considers whether a capability approach to human development may be able to promote recognition and work-life conditions of a specific category of informal workers in India by integrating specific informal workers within a social dialogue framework along with a range of other social partners including state and non-state institutions. While examining the viability of a human development based labour law in an Indian context, the book also indicates how the proposals put forth in the book may be relevant for informal workers in other developing countries.
This research monograph will be of great interest to scholars of labour law, informal work and workers, law and development, social justice, and labour studies.
Introduction 1. Informality and India: A Workers’ Perspective 2. Realizing Constitutional Guarantees through Private Action: Informal Workers’ Struggle in India 3. Freedom as Human Development 4. Social Dialogue in Promoting Decent Work for Informal Workers 5. A Capability Approach to Labour Law 6. Study on Capability Deprivations of Waste-Pickers in Kolkata, India 7. Proposal for a Labour Law Framework for Waste-Pickers in India Conclusion