Contratação de cooperativas de catadores de materiais recicláveis pelo poder público municipal: estudo em três municípios do estado de São Paulo
Santos, Carolina Valente
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Solid waste pickers work as a fundamental element in the recycling chain, even though they represent its weakest bond, due to the precariousness in their activities as well as their historical condition as socially invisible actors. From the end of the 1990s, the process of organizing these waste pickers into cooperatives, as well as the creation of the National Movement of Recyclable Waste Pickers, has become fundamental elements in the struggle of these workers for recognition and better conditions in their work and their lives. Likewise, the Solidarity Economy movement, which has organized itself in the country from the 1990s, has also played a leading role in supporting the organization of waste pickers. This process was associated with the elaboration and sanctioning of laws and public policies, such as the National Solid Waste Policy in 2010, which provide instruments favorable to the recognition and formal incorporation of waste pickers into the recycling chain, such as the possibility of hiring their cooperatives as service providers to municipalities. The studies in the CTS field integrate this scenario, based on the role fundamentally exercised by science in the field of social inequalities, in which the activity of collecting recyclables is shown, and, in particular, by the regulatory science, which aims to produce knowledge in order to subsidize the process of elaboration of public policies. In this context, the present research has as its objective to explore analytically the favorable conditions and difficulties in the role that has been played by contracts between cooperatives and municipalities, to three cooperatives, as a tool to effectively represent a step forward in this process of formal inclusion of these workers. The method for conducting the research is the exploratory study with data collection performed with participant observation of the Anastacia Network of cooperatives of recyclable waste pickers, located in the interior of the state of São Paulo. The empirical object focused by the present study are three cooperatives members of this Network which maintained contracts with their municipalities during the period of the research. The results show that the content of the contracts differs considerably from one municipality to another, as well as the level of compliance with the respective clauses and the responsible secretaries for the management of the contracts in the administrative sphere of municipalities. It was also shown that, in one of the cases, the contracts’ management has been discontinued because of changes in municipal public management, and the initiative to establish the contracts has been from the municipality in two cases and from the cooperative in one case. Therefore, it can be concluded that the processes of contracting waste pickers' cooperatives by the municipal public authorities are still associated with several limitations when considering their potential to assign better working conditions to the waste pickers, which, in turn, is related to the maintenance of favorable political actors in the respective municipalities, to the high complexity in the processes of implementation of public policies, and to the highly decentralized model of federalism currently held in Brazil.