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Informal Economy & WIEGO

Global Recession Impact: Personal Stories from Informal Workers

Uncertain Times

The global economic crisis that rocked the world in 2008 led to increased financial hardship for informal workers, most of whom already lived in precarious circumstances. Here is a sampling of their stories, told during  2009 and 2010. 

Links with Economic Crises

Economic crises lead to increased unemployment through loss of jobs in the formal economy and to increased employment – through new entrants – in the informal economy. For example, recent estimates by the International Labour Organization (ILO) suggest informal employment in Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, and Peru  increased from 52.9 per cent of total employment in 2007 to 53 per cent in 2008 and 53.6 per cent in 2009 (ILO 2009a).

Statistical Picture

Statistics on the size, composition, contribution, and other dimensions of the informal economy are needed to inform economic and social policies. Until recently only limited data have been available on informal employment and the informal economy.

Worker Stories

The informal economy has many faces and takes many forms across several occupations. This selection of stories illuminates the struggles and the successes of women and men across the world.

Policy Frameworks

 Gloria Solórzano Espinosa is a food vendor in the local municipality of Los Olivos in Lima, PeruPhoto by Juan Arredondo/Getty Images Reportage

Other Groups

Garment WorkersGarment Workers

The garment sector exemplifies the growth in global manufacturing, and many of the challenges associated with it.


Laws & Policies Beneficial to Waste Pickers

For two decades, development agencies, non-governmental organizations and academics have examined and recorded the contributions of waste pickers. Specialists and activists are now calling for an end to repressive policies on waste picking. They advocate the adoption of inclusive policies focused on legal recognition of waste pickers and their organizations, guaranteed access to waste for waste pickers, integration of waste pickers through their organizations into solid waste management systems, and the strengthening of membership-based waste picker organizations.

 

Basic Categories of Waste Pickers

Although the kinds of work waste pickers do differs across countries, some basic categories exist. These include:waste picker kkpkp