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Labour flexibility in export horticulture: a case study of north east Brazilian grape production

By Benjamin Selwyn


This article analyses the nature and extent of labour flexibility, defined as lack of permanent and secure employment contracts, within an emerging export horticulture sector in northeast Brazil. Whilst much has been written about flexible employment systems in agriculture, it is important to show exactly why, how, and to what extent these systems are flexible, and conversely, what kinds of strategies and practices are available to workers to ameliorate their conditions within such systems. This article illustrates how a combination of processes - farms' ability to produce two harvests per annum, northern retailers' increasing demands for product quality, employers' requirements for relatively skilled labour, and workers' ability to organise and extract concessions from employers - contribute, within the conditions of the Satildeo Francisco valley, to specific labour regimes and forms of labour flexibility

Publisher: Routledge
Year: 2009
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