Trade union leaders meet to discuss informal employment

The Pan-European Regional Council of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-PERC) in cooperation with the ILO organized a subregional meeting for trade union leaders focusing on informal employment. The meeting took place in Kyrgyzstan’s resort of Issyk-Kul on July 23-25.

News | 23 July 2013

It gathered trade unionists from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan and Ukraine. The meeting was unveiled by the chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Kyrgyzstan Asylbek Toktogulov, and ILO Moscow Senior Specialist in Workers’ Activities Sergeyus Glovackas.

ILO Moscow Senior International Labour Standards Specialist Alain Pelce noted that ILO conventions are universal in nature, therefore they can be applied to all workers irrespective of their activities and peculiarities of their work. It is quite a different matter that in practice these standards are often violated. The higher degree of informality in the economy arises, the higher probability of violation of these norms exists.

He said the ILO developed and approved some standards regulating labour relations of certain groups of workers to create conditions for formalizing informal labour. These are the ILO Home Work Convention, 1996 (No. 177) and Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189). Moreover, the Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202) is also of great important, Pelce added.

Participants discussed the situation with informal employment in countries of the region noting that trade unions promote joint initiatives with social partners and governmental institutions to prevent shadow payment schemes. A special focus was placed on trade unions’ activities in the agricultural sector, market trade and textile industry. The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) and StreetNet, an international federation of organizations of street vendors, informal market vendors and hawkers in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Eastern Europe, shared their experience in this issue.