The informalising-formalising labour regime
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The informalising-formalising labour regime book
Chapter 3 looks at technical class composition, or class struggle from above; techniques used by capital to frustrate workers’ power, fragment the working class and increase surplus value extraction. I argue that capital engages in practices of informalisation of the formal. I introduce the concept of the informalising-formalising labour regime, contending that this captures conditions of formal employment in contemporary Vietnam’s garment and footwear industry. By this, I mean that there has been a simultaneous expansion and informalisation of the formal economy. On the one hand, there has been a significant increase in salaried workers with contracts. This is the formalising element of the informalising-formalising labour regime. Concurrently, however, work within the formal economy has become increasingly informal; such workers may have some legal benefits or entitlements, but in comparison to previously existing formal jobs, this work is much less secure. Viewing informalisation as a form of class struggle from above, I argue that employers in the garment and footwear industry use many techniques to informalise work. This is the informalising element of the informalising-formalising labour regime. The chapter outlines key elements of this regime, related to wages, overtime, contracts, relocation and cicada practices, subcontracting and the social insurance system.