ABSTRACT

Construction work operates in multi-layered employment relations of workers, contractors, sub-contractors, and clients. In these relations, what is important is availability of work and someone to do the work and not the conventional concepts of employer, employee, and social protection at work. This chapter delves into the construction sector exploring how construction workers are organized, how workers’ associations contribute to labour agency and social protection, and the role played by both formal and informal institutions in strengthening or undermining workers’ organizing for social protection. The findings reveal deficits in formal social protection and how workers’ associations and networks fill the deficit, albeit inadequately. Going forward, providing social protection for construction workers calls for a combination of bottom-up efforts of construction workers and top-down public models, nuancing the strategies of the latter with the former.