Labour law and worker protection in developing countries

This study reflects on labour law’s ability, in its current form, to protect workers’ rights and secure decent working conditions in the developing world. It identifies and examines structural weaknesses and challenges brought about by globalization and, against this background, explores regulatory and policy responses which have been made at different governance levels to enhance the scope and application of labour regulation, focusing particularly on Latin America, South Asia and southern Africa. This is a co-publication with Hart Publishing.


This important new study shifts the focus of scholarly and policy debates on the role of labour law in an era of globalization away from the countries and labour law systems of the North to those of the global South. Placing its analysis within the context of the current scholarly debates on the challenges and future of labour law, the book critically reviews the relevant literature and reflects upon the way in which workers’ protection tends to be conceptualized, as well as on the adequacy of the legal categories and tools used to further it, with special attention given to the effectiveness of labour legislation in promoting gender equality.

The book argues that, in addition to problems in the application of labour law, there is a mismatch between the realities of the developing world and the social, economic and political underpinnings of labour law. This dates back to its development in post-colonial African and South Asian countries and, to a lesser extent, in Latin American ones. The divergence persists, while new manifestations have appeared due to globalization, leaving a significant number of workers outside the scope of labour law and in need of protection. Against this background, the book explores regulatory and policy responses at different governance levels to enhance the scope and application of labour regulation in Latin America, South Asia and southern Africa.