[Lucia van Westerlaak] - The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and its affiliates have to take up the work needed to integrate the informal economy into the formal economy. This work has to be mainstreamed with other activities, at the national, regional and international levels. This was the conclusion of a side event of the 2nd ITUC World Congress, held in Vancouver in June.
Organising informal workers is the first step towards taking care of their interests. The ITUC and its affiliates have to do so for the sake of informal workers, but also in order to safeguard their own future. The informal economy is huge in many parts of the world, and rapidly growing in other parts.
While we organise informal workers, this has to be done in a sustainable way. That means among other things that informal workers have to be represented at all levels that matter.
The ILO (ACTRAV) and the ITUC are developing a manual on the informal economy. This initiative met with general enthusiasm. The manual will present best practices and provide information on how to establish or improve capacity building. Such information is needed, as an important part of the ITUC affiliates acknowledges that it has not enough knowledge yet about how to organise informal workers.
Further, social protection in a broad sense should cover the vast amount of informal workers. Their interests have to be included in the discussions and policies of the ILO and the ITUC in the coming years.
The ITUC has to set up mechanisms that account for the interests of informal workers for the coming 4 years – be it by setting up a platform, a taskforce and/or like wise. The ITUC also has to take up the task of exchanging the information on how to organise informal workers on the basis of continuity, in a way that affiliates suits best.