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Informal Economy & WIEGO

Transport Workers: Data Constraints & Gaps

Transportation worker, Philippines

There are limited reliable and up-to-date data on livelihoods of workers in the informal transport sector. The three available major sources are:

Research Network for Domestic Worker Rights

The Research Network for Domestic Worker Rights consists of researchers who have been working collaboratively with domestic workers to capture information and document the lives and working conditions of the tens of millions of people who work in the homes of others. Officially launched in June 2011, the Research Network exists to support the efforts of domestic workers by:

Decent Work for Domestic Workers: International Labour Conference, June 2010

 The historic first discussion on Decent Work for Domestic Workers was on the agenda of the 99th Session of the International Labour Conference (ILC), held in Geneva in June 2010. A second discussion will be held in June 2011, where it is anticipated that an ILO Convention supplemented by a Recommendation will be adopted.

9 June, 2010: ILO Sets Standards For Domestic Workers' Rights

Labour Law and Informal Workers: The WIEGO Perspective

Historically, around the world, the “employment relationship” has represented the cornerstone – the central legal concept – around which labour law and collective bargaining agreements have sought to recognize and protect the rights of workers.

Street Vending Banned in São Paulo

In May 2012, the municipal administration in São Paulo, Brazil banned street vending altogether. On Saturday, May 19, Mayor Gilberto Kassab revoked a municipal decree of 1997 that authorized the work of street vendors in the streets of the capital city. Existing licenses issued to vendors have been cancelled, and vendors told to vacate the sidewalks.

Support to Informal Workers During & After Economic Crises

During economic crises, the poor are seen as targets for social assistance or social safety nets. However, the working poor, especially those engaged in the informal economy, are not recognized as legitimate targets for economic rescue or recovery efforts because it is widely believed that the informal economy provides a “cushion” to those who lose their jobs in the formal economy. Therefore, it is assumed informal workers must be doing all right.

Hierarchies of Earnings & Poverty Risk

The statistical evidence summarized in the “Links with Poverty” section suggests a hierarchy of earnings and poverty risk across the various segments of the labour force, as illustrated in Figures 1-3 below. While average earnings are higher in formal employment than in informal, there is also a hierarchy of earnings within the informal economy. Employers have the highest average earnings, followed by their employees and other “regular” informal employees, then own account workers, followed by casual wage workers and domestic workers, and finally industrial outworkers.