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Organising Workers in the Informal Economy & Creating Decent Employment: We Need a New Approach LOFTF/West Africa Partners Regional Meeting Dr. Yaw Baah.

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Presentation on theme: "Organising Workers in the Informal Economy & Creating Decent Employment: We Need a New Approach LOFTF/West Africa Partners Regional Meeting Dr. Yaw Baah."— Presentation transcript:

1 Organising Workers in the Informal Economy & Creating Decent Employment: We Need a New Approach LOFTF/West Africa Partners Regional Meeting Dr. Yaw Baah Deputy Secretary General Ghana TUC

2 Review of Trade Union Organising Efforts in the Informal Economy: The Case of Ghana Ghana TUC first adopted a policy on organising informal economy workers at its 1996 Quadrennial Delegates Congress Main Objectives – To Improve working conditions for informal economy workers – To Increase membership and improve legimacy for the TUC in terms of representation of workers (since over 80% of the Ghanaian workforce are employed in the informal economy)

3 Organising Initiatives by Ghana TUC Establishment of the Department in charge of Organising at the TUC Secretariat to assist unions in organising/recruitment with particular focus on the informal economy Establishment of the Informal Economy Desk within the Organising Department to assist the unions to organise informal economy workers Appointment of Informal Economy Desk Officer and Organisers Adoption of Strategic Plans with Organsing Informal Economy as one of the main pillars Research on the working conditions in the informal economy and the challenges in organising in the sector/Needs Assessment Surveys TUC regional/provincial secretaries charged to assist unions to organise workers (formal & Informal) at the regional and district levels The Regional and District Councils of Labour support unions in organising formal and informal sector workers

4 Recent Achievements in organising informal/non-traditional members So far TUC has organised the following associate members (they affiliated directly to TUC): 1.Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) 2.Ghana Actors Guild 3.Greater Accra Tomato Traders Association 4.Ghana Union of Physically Disabled Workers 5.Madina Traders Association 6.New Makola Traders Association 7.Indigenous Caterers Association (organising is in progress) 8.Ghana Youth Porters Association (organising is in progress) Total Membership of 6 associate members =12,752

5 Profile of TUC Associate Members

6 Other Associations in the Informal Sector (affiliated to national unions and to the TUC) GHANA PRIVATE ROAD TRANSPORT UNION (GPRTU) – Transport Owners – Drivers – Attendants/mates GENERAL AGRICULTURAL WORKERS UNION (GAWU) – Selp-employed rural workers – Tenant farmers – Inland canoe fishermen – Rice farmers in 5 regions – Cassava farmers – Cotton producers – Women groups in agriculture – Oil palm farmers – Tractor operators

7 TIMBER AND WOODWORKERS UNION (TWU) – National Sawyers Association – Small Scale Carpenters Association – Woodworking Machine owners Association – Caab ad Rattan Workers Association – Chainsaw operators – Wood Carvers – Charcoal burners – Sawn Timber Traders

8 LOCAL GOVERNMENT WORKERS UNION – Refuse and waste collectors – Butchers Association PUBLIC SERVICES WORKERS UNION – National Lotto Receivers Association – National Photographers Union – Ghana Pensioners Association INDUSTRIAL & COMMERCIAL WORKERS UNION – Ghana Hairdressers and Beuticians Association – Ghana Batik,Tye and Dye Association MARITIME AND DOCKWORKERS UNION – Casual workers in the shipping industry – National Sawyers Association - TWU

9 Characteristics of the workforce in Ghana Ghana has an estimated population of 24 million (2010) Ghana’s total workforce (aged 15+) is estimated at 11 million About 18% (1,980,000) workers are in paid employment mainly in the formal sector of the economy (including public sector workers) 82% (9,020,000) are in the informal economy

10 Employment Status of the workforce in Ghana Employment StatusMALE (%)FEMALE (%)ALL (%) EMPLOYEE EMPLOYER SELF-EMPLOYED CONTRIBUTING FAMILY WORKER APPRENTICE OTHERS TOTAL100

11 Distribution of Employment by Sector SectorPercentage Agriculture55.8 Fishing1.4 Mining0.7 Manufacturing10.9 Electricity0.2 Construction1.8 Trade15.2 Hotels & Restaurants1.9 Transport & Communication2.8 Financial Services0.3 Real Estate0.8 Public Administration1.4 Education2.9 Health & Social Work0.8 Other Community Services2.7 Other activities0.3

12 Characteristics of Informal economy workers A large majority informal economy workers (about 92%) are self-employed (About 4% of informal economy workers are employed by another 4% of employers within the informal economy) Women dominate the informal economy Low earnings Long hours of work No or Low level of education Lack of social and legal protection High incidence of child labour Low level of organisation/unionisation

13 Main Challenges facing Informal Economy Workers Lack of access to credit Exposure to high level of economic and financial risks (high level of inflation, interest rates and exchange rates) Job insecurity Income insecurity Unsafe working conditions Non-involvement in national and local policy-making Harassment by public authorities (especially at the local authority level)

14 Ghana TUC Experiences in Organising Informal Economy/Non-traditional Members Organising Informal economy workers is costly in terms of time, financial, and human resources Unions do not have the capacity to satisfy the needs/meet the challenges & expectations of informal economy workers (eg. Financial capital) The traditional recruitment methods/strategies do not work in the informal sector because of: – the huge size of the sector; and – the domination by self-employed (non-existence of employment relationships)

15 Unions need to do things differently Unions need to use different methods for organising different groups in the informal economy – Informalised workers (in the formal economy ) (This group can be covered by collective bargaining and benefit directly from trade union experience in collective bargaining) – Paid employees in the informal economy (This group can be covered by collective bargaining through negotiations with employers or employers associations in the sector) – Self-employed workers in the Informal economy (Unions can encourage affiliation of this group through their exisiting associations or they can encourage them to form cooperatives which can affiliate to the unions)

16 Intensify the organising through existing associations in the informal economy Assist informal economy workers to form cooperatives/associations which can affiliate to the union) Unions need to adopt strategic plans for organising informal economy workers (including annual plans) Unions need to commit financial, material and human resources to organising on yearly basis (within the strategic plans) Unions need to conduct needs assessment/research in the informal sector on a regular basis Unions need to incorporate the informal economy workers in their decision-making structures (e.g. union constitutions may have to change to accomodate informal economy workers)

17 END


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