Informal Economy

Zimbabwe, informal economy, worker rights, Solidarity Center

The Solidarity Center assists workers in the informal economy, such as market vendors in Zimbabwe, come together to assert their rights and raise living standards. Credit: ZCIEA

Some 2 billion people work in the informal sector as domestic workers, taxi drivers, and street vendors, many of them women workers. Informal economy work now comprises the majority of jobs in many countries and is increasing worldwide. Although informal economy workers can create up to half of a country’s gross national product, most have no access to health care, sick leave or support when they lose their jobs, and they have little power to advocate for living wages and safe and secure work.

The Solidarity Center is part of a broad-based movement in dozens of countries to help workers in the informal economy come together to assert their rights and raise living standards. For instance, three affiliates of the Central Organization of Trade Unions-Kenya (COTU-K), a Solidarity Center partner, signed agreements with informal worker associations to unionize the workers, enabling them to access to the country’s legal protections for formal-sector employees.

Find out more about informal workers gaining power by joining together in unions and worker associations in this Solidarity Center-supported publication, Informal Workers and Collective Action: A Global Perspective.

Morocco Hospitality Workers Stand Strong in Pandemic

Unions throughout Morocco are negotiating wage guarantees and other measures to safeguard the livelihoods of the tens of thousands of workers in the country’s hospitality industry—cooks, wait staff, hotel cleaners, tour operators—who have been furloughed or lost their...

From Haiti to Kenya, Unions Take Action on COVID-19

Just as the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the massive global economic and social inequality around the world, with workers in the informal economy and supply chains, and  migrant workers—many of whom are women—especially marginalized, so, too, does it...

Learn More about Our Partners!

The Solidarity Center, as part of the global labor movement, is proud to closely work with trade unions, civil society organizations, academic institutions, progressive private foundations, labor-friendly businesses, governments and dozens of generous individuals to...
COVID-19: Bangladesh Garment Workers Stand Up for Rights

COVID-19: Bangladesh Garment Workers Stand Up for Rights

The COVID-19 crisis is especially devastating for the 50 million workers who make clothes, shoes and textiles in factories around the world. With declining sales, corporate retailers are canceling orders and factories are laying off workers, most without pay. Those...

Worker Rights Experts Field COVID-19 Queries in Ukraine

Worker Rights Experts Field COVID-19 Queries in Ukraine

In Ukraine, as workers face employer efforts to shortchange their pay, lay them off or take other adverse actions during the COVID-19 crisis, many are turning to Labor Initiatives, a Solidarity Center-supported Ukrainian NGO that provides legal assistance to workers....

COVID-19: Unions Mobilize Across Middle East/N. Africa

COVID-19: Unions Mobilize Across Middle East/N. Africa

Across the Middle East and North Africa, unions and worker associations are mobilizing to educate workers about their rights during the COVID-19 crisis, provide them with resources to protect themselves and their families, and push for fair treatment at the workplace....

Pin It on Pinterest