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Nothing for us without us! Informal Workers Organising Globally Chris Bonner, WIEGO AWID Conference, November 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Nothing for us without us! Informal Workers Organising Globally Chris Bonner, WIEGO AWID Conference, November 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Nothing for us without us! Informal Workers Organising Globally Chris Bonner, WIEGO AWID Conference, November 2008

2 Global action-research-policy network : of individuals and organisations engaged in or concerned with informal employment. Aims: to improve the visibility and status of the working poor, especially women, in the informal economy through increased organisation and representation, improved statistics and research, more supportive policies and inclusive policy processes Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing

3 Workers in the Informal Economy

4 Streets, markets & open spaces Vendors Waste collectors Sex workers Transport workers Construction workers Roadside shoe shiners, hairdressers Selling bikinis in Brazil Driving pedicabs in Philippines Reclaiming waste in South Africa Selling vegetables in Kenya

5 embroiderers garment makers waste sorters/recyclers metal goods producers shoe makers coffin makers In shops, workshops & yards Sorting recyclable plastic in India Embroidering in India

6 At home and in households Garment workers Craft producers Electronics assemblers Cigarette makers Toy makers Domestic workers Care givers Sewing clothes in Bangladesh Making “bidi” cigarettes in India Cleaning house in Germany Cleaning floors in Pakistan

7 In fields, forests and on water small farmers agricultural labourers shepherds forest gatherers fisher folk water transport workers Picking tobacco in India Ferrying passengers in Zambia

8 The Informal Economy “All economic activities by workers and economic units that are – in law or in practice- not covered or insufficiently covered by formal arrangements”(ILO 2002) Informal Workers Self-employed workers: own account, family workers, members of informal coops Waged workers: in informal businesses or jobs such as casual, seasonal, domestic, homework

9 Extent of informal work Half to three quarters of non agricultural employment in developing countries is informal: 48% North Africa 51% Latin America 65% Asia 80% sub-Saharan Africa (excluding SA) Women and informal work More than 60% of working women work informally. Women are found in the most precarious and low paying informal jobs

10 Informal Workers Organising

11 Why organise as workers? Visibility and recognition as workers doing a valuable job Rights as workers in law and practice: to organise, to represent, to negotiate for voices to be heard through collective power for decent income, working conditions, social protection Collective economic activity Empowerment: knowledge, experience Solidarity

12 StreetNet International International Alliance of street, market vendors and hawkers Affiliates: 30 from 27countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America Women leadership: 50% leadership quota in its constitution Activities: organizing information and experience sharing training for empowerment e.g. negotiating skills solidarity actions representation in international forums e.g. ILO, WSF Campaigns: World Class Cities for All

13 Domestic Workers Network: Respect & Rights Network newly formed under the Global Union Federation, IUF Open to DW unions and organizations, regional networks, NGOs Steering committee : DW unions/organizations Asia, Africa, Latin America, Caribbean, North America Activities: organizing/network building information sharing advocacy Campaigns: ILO Convention ( on the agenda 2010, 2011)

14 Latin American Waste-picker Network Network: WP organisations from 12 countries Base organizations are worker cooperatives. High percentage of women Working towards a global network, Latin America, Asia, Africa, CE Europe. LA Network activities: organizing promoting visibility and status policy development sharing knowledge and experiences

15 “Combining our Efforts” Building a Movement Support Organisations Trade Unions Informal Worker Organisations Social Movements and other organizations Women’s and Social Movements, NGOs etc


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