Lessons from Practical Experience of Organising Workers in the Informal Economy in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Beyond: The World of Work, Livelihoods and Socially and Environmentally Sustainable Development (Work in Progress)

Chris Bonner, Pat Horn, Elaine Jones

GLU conference in Campinas, Brazil on Global Development: Challenges for Union Strategies.

This paper provides a thorough overview of how different groups of informal workers are organizing themselves and networking with other movements, using a broad variety of examples from Africa, Asia, Latin America and elsewhere. The occupational groups examined include the following: Street-, market vendors and hawkers; home-based workers; waste pickers and recyclers; agricultural, forestry and fish workers; domestic workers; transport workers; construction and related workers; sex workers. For each occupational group the paper analyses the priority issues and key challenges; geographic reach; organizing challenges; and main forms of organization. In addition existing organisations are used to illustrate the case. Second part of the paper analyses broader political and social issues and challenges concerning organizing in the informal economy. Moreover, international networks and social movements that may provide alliances for informal workers are discussed. It is argued that informalization can be seen as part of broader changes affecting labour processes, brought about by globalization. Therefore it can be seen as a logical option for movements of informal workers to aim to address these broader social and political issues.

Informal Economy Theme
Publication Type