Chris Bonner

Former Director, Organization and Representation Programme

"Informal workers gain moral and practical strength from solidarity with other workers locally, nationally and internationally. Being part of a wider movement gives them the confidence to speak out and to act knowing they have broad support. It increases their collective power."


Organizing and collective bargaining, capacity building and worker education, unions and MBOs, labour, informal worker global networks

Since 2004, Chris has been collecting and documenting information on organizations of informal workers, including the development of the interactive database WORD. With a team, she has facilitated and supported global and regional networking amongst informal workers—domestic workers, home-based workers, street vendors and waste pickers—and has played an important role in the formation of the International Domestic Workers Federation. She has also helped bring together waste pickers from different continents into an informal Global Alliance of Waste Pickers, and over the past few years has reached out to home-based workers and support organizations in Eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa.

Together with a delegation of informal workers, organizers and WIEGO team members, she recently participated in the discussions on “Transitioning from the Informal to the Formal Economy” at the International Labour Conference (ILC), June 2014. In preparation for the ILC she helped organize a series of regional workshops to assist informal workers develop their Platform on Formalizing the Informal Economy, for distribution at the ILC.

Prior to joining WIEGO, Chris worked for 16 years in the Chemical Workers Industrial Union, affiliated to the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) as an organizer/regional secretary and then as the union’s National Educator. In 1996 she was appointed as the Founding Director of the labour education and development institute, DITSELA, in South Africa, a position she held until 2003.

Worker Education Resources

2012. The Only School We Have: Learning from Organizing Experiences Across the Informal Economy. WIEGO. With Dave Spooner.

2009. Organizing in the Informal Economy: Resource Books for Organizers (series). WIEGO and StreetNet

In the News

2014. Preparing a Platform. WIEGO.

2014. Yes, We Did It! Domestic Workers Launch an International Federation.  Global Labour Column. With B. Budin and K. Pape.