From Employee to Homo Faber? Considerations about Union Renewal and Informal Workers in Brazil and India




Frangi, Lorenzo
Routh, Supriya

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Just Labour: A Canadian Journal of Work and Society


For the purpose of trade union renewal, it is suggested that trade unions need to convert themselves from being institutions centred on employeremployee relations to open source ones engaged with broader social justice issues. In this article, we offer two elements to the debate on trade union revival: first, we focus on two rapidly emerging economies with a corporatist and statecentered union structure (i.e., Brazil and India); second, in the context of these two countries, we challenge the idea that informal workers are a burden for trade union organizations. We consider the possible contributions that informal workers could make towards the renewal of trade unions in these two countries. We argue that trade unions could take advantage of these contributions if they overcome the employee horizon, which originated in Western countries and excludes millions of workers from its purview in Brazil and India. We propose the concept of “homo faber” as a new horizon for trade union organization, which is inclusive of both formal as well as informal workers.




Frangi, L., & Routh, S. (2014). From Employee to Homo Faber? Considerations About Union Renewal and Informal Workers in Brasil and India. Just Labour.