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ILO Mandate within an Evolving Global Political and Socio-Economic Environment. Presentation to the GLU Postgraduate Students Wits, 13 th May, 2014 By: Inviolata Chinyangarara ILO Senior Specialist in Workers’ Activities. PRESENTATION OUTLINE. Labour in the global economy

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ilo mandate within an evolving global political and socio economic environment

ILO Mandate within an Evolving Global Political and Socio-Economic Environment

Presentation to the GLU Postgraduate Students

Wits, 13th May, 2014

By: Inviolata Chinyangarara

ILO Senior Specialist in Workers’ Activities

presentation outline
  • Labour in the global economy
  • How nature of work is changing in the new economy and implications for economic opportunity and inequality
  • Rapid economic restructuring, how this is shaping work and employment
  • Issues in the world of work
  • Issues in industrial sectors
presentation outline1
  • Workers’ response to these issues
  • Strategies for improving working conditions
  • Role of labour in development process
  • Role of labour in economic policy formulation and implementation
  • Global institutions in development
  • Inequality
the ilo mandate
The ILO Mandate

The ILO is the UN tripartite agency dealing with labour issues and has 185 member States (latest member: S. Sudan)

It was founded in 1919, at the end of the first world war

It core Mandate is to promote social justice and decent work for all.

Normative action (setting ILS and supervising their application in member States) + Technical Cooperation + Research, Training and Information

The main bodies of the ILO are:

International Labour Conference (General Assembly)

Governing Body (Executive Council )

International Labour Office (Permanent Secretariat)

founding principles of the ilo

Declaration concerning the aims and purposesOf the International Labour Organisation (PhiladelphiaDeclaration), 1944:

  • “The war against want requires to be carried on with unrelenting vigour within each nation, and by continuous and concerted international effort in which the representatives of workers and employers, enjoying equal status with those of governments, join with them in free discussion and democratic decision with a view to the promotion of the common welfare”
decent work agenda
Decent Work Agenda

Restatement of ILO’s historical mandate in today’s context

Represents tripartite consensus within ILO as a way to respond to the challenges posed by the globalizing world

A development strategy that reflects people’s aspirations for decent jobs, better opportunities, voice and representation

Operationalized in the ILO’s DWCPs


All four strategic objectives are recognized by the ILO as inseparable, interrelated and mutually supportive

Failure to promote anyone of them would harm progress towards the other

(Declaration on Social Justice 2008)


Work that is productive,

givesfair income,

securityin the workplace andsocial protection for the family,

equal opportunities and treatment,

better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom to organise andparticipatein

decision making

Concept of Decent Work encompasses both

individual and collective dimensions (C 87 & 98)

dwcp definition
DWCP - Definition
  • Decent Work Country Programs (DWCP) are the tools through which the Decent Work Agenda is implemented at the country level (SUB-Regional DWP: SADC and EAC DWP)
  • It is the translation of Decent Work Agenda into practical action at the national level
  • Serves as the main vehicle for delivery of ILO support to countries.
  • Distinct ILO contribution to UN country programs (UNDAF)
  • An expression of ILO Program and Budget in a country [time-bound and resourced program]
how are dwcp formulated a six step cycle
How are DWCP Formulated?: A Six-step Cycle

Step 1Defining the country context [diagnostic analysis]

Step 2Establishing the country programpriorities

Step 3Defining intended outcomes, indicators, targets and strategies

Step 4DWCP implementation planning

Step 5Implementation, monitoring and reporting

Step 6Review and evaluation


Employment Gap:

  • Total unemployment: 202 million (+ rising)
    • +5 million compared to 2013 [East Asia and South Asia account for more 45% of additional jobseekers, followed by Sub-Saharan Africa]
    • The global jobs gap reached 62 million in 2013
      • Equal to 32 million additional jobseekers
      • 23 million discouraged jobseekers [longer look for jobs]
      • 7 million economically inactive people that prefer not to participate in the labour market
      • On current trends, global unemployment will rise by 13 million people by 2018
      • About 74.5 million young people [aged 15-24 years] were unemployed in 2013
  • Vulnerable employment accounts for almost 48% of total employment worldwide
      • 375 million workers are in extreme poverty (below US$1.25 a day)
      • 839 million workers have to cope with US$2 a day
      • Informal employment remains widespread in most developing countries
        • Large army of working poor: concept of mass + cheap production for export – the current global model
  • Declining wage share in GDP
  • Growing gap between level of wages and profits [wage lagging behind productivity]
  • Exploitation of cheap labour to achieve increased profits
  • Neglect for human rights, the protection of workers, right to food, economic and social rights as well as the sustainable use of natural resources
  • The richest 8% of the world’s population earn half of the world’s total income
    • While the remaining 92% of people are left with the other half
  • The richest 1% of the world’s population owns about 40% of the world’s assets
    • While the bottom half owns no more than 1%
  • Income inequality increased by 11% in developing countries between 1990 and 2000
  • Increased vulnerability and economic insecurity with a rise in unconventional and precarious jobs such as:
    • Part-time employment
    • Self-employment
    • Fixed term work
    • Temporary work
    • On-call work
    • Home-based work
    • Women continue to be disproportionately represented in vulnerable employment
trends impacting vulnerability of work
Trends Impacting Vulnerability of Work
  • Declining full-time and secured employment
  • Growing informalization
  • Low pay
  • No minimum wages
  • High number of people excluded from social security
  • Low levels of health and safety standards
  • Growing income inequality
  • High rates of unemployment and underemployment
  • Growing working poverty [ILO: those who work and belong to poverty]
top 10 unequal countries

Source: CIA: the World Fact Book

work areas of the ilo in addressing employment deficits
Work Areas of the ILO in Addressing Employment Deficits
  • Employment creation( No:1 priority in DWCPs)
  • Promotion of more and better jobs for inclusive growth (ACI: 1)
  • Development of appropriate skills to enhance employability
  • Support development of sustainable enterprises
  • Jobs for youth
role of trade unions in influencing policies
Role of trade unions in influencing Policies
  • Participation (not just attendance) in policy dialogue platforms
  • Involvement throughout the process (preparation, implementation, M&E)
  • All levels/sectors of workers’ organization to be involved not just leadership
  • Advocacy, lobbying and watchdog roles critical
  • Identification of projects to be implemented to achieve policy goals
  • Establish working relationships with various ministries and with “like minded” organizations (NGOs)
to what extent are tus effectively playing their policy influence role
To what extent are TUs effectively playing their policy influence role??
  • XXXX federation capacity on dealing with traditional “bread and butter “issues: wages, working conditions, collective bargaining etc has been well developed over the years. However, with the widening scope of agenda issues for trade unions, XXX lacks required capacity to deal with complexity of issues involved in National Employment Policy.
  • Given the complexity of the issues involved in NEP formulation and implementation many knowledge gaps still exist within XXXX 1st and 2nd layer leadership.
  • There is no capacity in XXXX for solid analysis of NEP issues that would lead to trade union effective engagement.
  • While being mindful of the need to be involved in the implementation of all nine (9) prioritised areas of the NEP, XXXX plans to put more focus on the following four (4) areas/sectors: Labour Administration and Labour standards, including strengthening social dialogue, informal economy and SMEs, improved social security and pro-employment macro-economic policies. This selection was arrived at based on current existing capacity within XXXX.
to what extent are tus effectively playing their policy influence role1
To what extent are TUs effectively playing their policy influence role??
  • Further capacity support will be required to strengthen XXXX capacity to monitor NEP results, and to be able to measure and analyse decent work and employment.
  • The capacity support will enable trade unions to occupy new institutional spaces that result from more inclusive policy-making. The NEP implementation plan defines some areas wherein trade unions are part of lead agencies and trade union capacity to lead these clusters would need to be strengthened.
  • Within 2014, it is fundamental that XXX identifies a policy research partner(s) to provide research based labour and employment policy insights.

Rights Gap:

Unprotected and exploited workers:

Blatant denial of freedom of association and right to collective bargaining

Poor working conditions[low or no pay – working poverty, limited or no social security coverage, injustices in the distribution of the gains of economic growth often resulting into growing inequality and the lack of equity, etc.]

Child labour:

168 children worldwide are trapped in child labour [85 million are in involved in hazardous work – down from 171 million in 2000]

Forced labour: approximately 21 million people are victims of forced labour [11.4m women + girls and 9.5m men and boys]


Social Protection Gaps

  • Limited social protection measures have worsened economic insecurity and vulnerability:
    • Just about 20% of the world working age population (and their families) have effective access to comprehensive social protection
    • 80% do not access to comprehensive social security
    • 50% - no coverage
    • Less than 10% covered in the least developed countries
    • 20-60% covered in middle income countries
    • 100% covered in the industrialised countries


Occupational Safety and Health Gaps

  • 2.34 million people die from work-related accidents + diseases each year
  • 2.02 million people die each year from work-related diseases alone
  • 321,000 people die each year from occupational accidents
  • Non-fatal work-related injuries: 317 million
  • Non-fatal work-related diseases per year: 160 million

This means that:

  • Every 15 seconds, a worker dies from a work-related accident or disease
  • Every 15 seconds, 151 workers have a work-related accident
critical sectors
Critical Sectors




Informal Sector (accounted for >90% of New Jobs in African countries in the last decade)

More than 80 feared

dead in --- mining



Social Dialogue Gap:

  • Gap in freedom of association
  • Lack of democratic foundations
  • Inappropriate legislative and policy framework
  • Lack of strong and independent workers’ and employers’ organizations
  • Lack of technical knowledge and capacity as well as access to information
  • Lack of capacity to reconcile interests + deliver on agreements
  • Lack of political will to engage in social dialogue
informal economy the ilo definition
Informal Economy: The ILO Definition
  • international labour conference in 2002 indicate that the term “informal economy” refers to:

“All economic activities by workers and economic units that are – in law or in practice – not covered or insufficiently covered by formal arrangements.” These activities are:

- Not included in the law, which means that they are operating outside the formal reach of the law;

- Or they are not covered in practice, which means that – although they are operating within the formal reach of the law, the law is not applied or not enforced; or

- The law discourages compliance because it is inappropriate, burdensome, or imposes excessive costs” (paragraph 3)

the informal economy what we know
The Informal Economy – what we know?

Persisting and expanding [informal economy remains widespread in most developing countries]

Close correlation between being poor and working informally [working poor]

Women and youth are often disproportionately represented in the informal economy

Workers in the informal economy are either not covered or insufficiently covered by social security systems

Cumulatively informal economy activities contribute significantly to economic growth

categories of workers in the informal economy
Categories of Workers in the Informal Economy
  • Unregistered workers (those in a genuine employment relationship but who do not enjoy any rights - the situation is worse if they are irregular migrants or if their employer is unregistered);
  • Under-registered workers (those who receive part of their earnings informally – they are registered as part-time workers but in fact work full-time – which means that less taxes are paid on their behalf);
  • Disguised workers (those who perform the same tasks as ‘regular’ employees but often do not have the same rights because they are employed under different contracts such as sub/contracts);
  • Ambiguous workers (those about whom doubts are raised concerning whether they are employees or not);
categories of workers in the informal economy1
Categories of Workers in the Informal Economy
  • Vulnerable own-account workers (those who are genuinely self-employed but vulnerable and exploited);
  • Employees in precarious situations (fixed-term, part-time or temporary workers who may not enjoy the same rights as ‘regular’ workers, or do not enjoy the same rights in practice);
  • Special cases (domestic workers, home workers, and other types of workers who are not always covered by employment laws); and
  • Workers in triangular relationships (often, one does not know who the employer is because of the involvement of one or more third parties to the relationship; this includes situations where one resorts to an employment agency, or where there is franchising – see brief on the employment relationship).
other specific groups
Other Specific Groups
  • Indigenous and tribal peoples
  • Workers with disabilities
  • Workers affected by HIV and AIDS
  • Ex-offenders
relative size of the informal economy
Relative Size of the Informal Economy

The informal economy worldwide comprised:

- 78% of non-agricultural employment in Asia;

- 52% in Latin America; and

- 56% in Africa.

60 to 90% of Africa’s active labour force is in the informal economy, which also accounts for 93% of new jobs in Sub-Saharan Africa

Excluding agriculture, informal economy represents 37.7% of total GDP in Sub-Saharan Africa, 30.4% in North Africa, 26.8% in Asia and 25.9% in Latin America.

Women’s share of worldwide informal employment fluctuates between 60 and 80%.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, 84% of women workers outside agriculture are informally employed compared to 63% of male.

reasons for informality
Reasons for Informality

Demand-side Causes [pull-effects]

  • Capital intensive growth which orients public and private support institutions away from SMEs
  • Needs of urban poor for cheap goods and services
  • Avoidance of high taxation
  • Governments’ avoidance of social protection burdens
  • Bribery and cumbersome procedures for formalization
  • Less incentives for OSHE investment
  • Avoidance of trade unions

Supply-side Causes [push-effects]

  • Internal constraints brought about by poverty
  • Inadequate human capital accumulation [low education and training and ability to manage risks and income]
  • Difficulty [or impossibility] to find employment with formal employers
  • Economic restructuring processes including privatization leading to shrinkage of employment and wages in public services
  • Population growth and migration
  • Mis-match between demand and supply in the labour market
  • The scourge of the HIV and AIDS epidemic

On the External Environment

  • Globalization and greater competiveness that force companies to rely on:
    • Atypical and non-standard work arrangements that are less costly to employers [But results in greater precariousness for workers]
      • Financial and economic crises [austerity policies] create new pressure on formal employment and often result in the expansion of the informal economy

What Are the Main Challenges Faced by Trade Unions in Organizing Workers in the Informal Economy?

the main challenge for trade unions
The Main Challenge for Trade Unions

Workers in the informal economy:

  • Are diverse, do not represent a uniform group and may have obvious differences of interests
  • May not share common interests with the majority of current union members e.g. issues of ethnic, family and kinship ties may be stronger among such workers than working class solidarity
  • Are so caught up in the daily struggle for survival and they are not inclined to join in protracted collective action
  • Are often not covered by existing labour legislation and regulation
  • The highly insecure and precarious nature of their work means that they are often too worried about losing their jobs to join a union
  • Domestic and home-based workers as well as those in micro-enterprises, may be hard for unions to contact and to mobilize — organizing drives can be costly and difficult and time and resource consuming
  • Many unions do not have tested strategies for organizing workers in the informal economy
  • Political will and clarity of direction: getting TU leadership to prioritize the organization of workers in the informal economy
    • FOA is both a fundamental right and a key stepping stone to the realization of other dimensions of decent work
      • C87 and C98 apply to all workers, including workers in the informal economy
  • Legal changes: unions need to lobby for necessary changes to the laws to incorporate workers and economic units in the informal economy into mainstream economy.
  • Constitutional changes:changing trade union constitutions where this is the obstacle to organizing workers in the informal economy
  • New organizing strategies that are more appropriate for reaching out to workers in the informal economy

Appropriate policies and services: becoming acquainted with and devising services for workers in marginalized sectors and for the self-employed

Address decent work deficits in the informal economy: includes actions to improve earnings, working condition, income security, promote social dialogue and expand social security coverage through tax-financed systems

Lower the cost of transition to formality [and increase benefits of formalization] through the creation of an enabling policy and regulatory environment

Promote active labour market policies to assist workers in the transition to formality

Advocate for explicit formalization obligations for labour inspection services

  • Affirmative action:
    • Within the union structures
    • Putting women’s demands to the top of the bargaining agenda
    • Changing cultures, customs and practices that are inimical to women’s empowerment
  • Learning from those doing it already:
    • Through exchange visits or other engagement to benefit from the experiences of those who are already organizing in the informal economy and thus avoid some of the mistakes and replicate the more successful strategies — rather than re-invent the wheel.
    • Organizing workers in the informal economy as workers and as equals
    • Joint campaigns
  • Tackling globalization: workers need to confront the negative consequences of globalization in a unified way
  • Taking a lead in civil society: if trade unions are sufficiently representative of the working people they will become the natural leaders of any civil society movement.
the end


  • The ILO will continue to intensify its research and policy advise on the links between economic growth, employment and social inclusion under different circumstances, stages of development in response to crises and transitions