5 August, 2016
On July, 2016, representatives of Sindicato de Trabajadores Comerciantes Patentados y Afines de Costa Rica (SINTRACOPEA) and Federación Nacional de Trabajadores Independientes Vendedores de El Salvador (FESTIVES), both affiliated to StreetNet Internacional, participated in the Subregional Seminar "Effective experiences of transition to formality: Lessons learned and challenges in Costa Rica, El Salvador and Honduras" organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
This Seminar is part of the activities of the ILO project "Promoting respect for labour rights of Workers in the Informal Economy in Costa Rica, El Salvador and Honduras", which lasted 45 months (October 31st, 2012 – July 31st, 2016) and aimed to promote labour rights of Workers in the informal economy (decent work and social protection) by sensitizing them, increasing the organizational capacity and productivity of workers, and improving the capacity of local and national governments to meet the needs of workers in the informal economy in municipalities of Costa Rica (Desamparados Municipality), El Salvador (Santa Tecla Municipality) and Honduras (Central District Municipality -Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela).
As a result of the project, organizations of workers in the informal economy in those countries got involved in Tripartite Dialogue Round Tables, and also, have established two centers, one in Costa Rica and the other in El Salvador known as "Casas de los Derechos" ("Houses of Rights"), that provide information about municipal procedures (such as, patent applications); offer mediation services when there are conflict situations with municipal authorities; and provide legal advice to exercise labour activities. Workers in the informal economy also receive training in capacity building on employability and enterpreneurship, and strengthening of organizations. These centers have considered the guidelines of the ILO Recomendation 204 concerning "The Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy".
The newly opened "Casa de Derechos" ("House of Rights") in Costa Rica has served more than 300 people (street vendors, domestic workers, most vulnerable women and migrants, etc.) only during the first month. Kattia Barquero, Secretary of Organization of SINTRACOPEA and person in charge of "Casa de Derechos" ("House of Rights") said that "WhatsApp and Facebook have been very useful to communicate the existence of the Centres and to follow up with people who have paid a visit."
The ILO has issued recommendations for sustainability of the Centers and has trained employees who worked there on migration, labour legislation, human rights, politics and leadership development issues, because it is expected that "Casas de Derechos" ("Houses of Rights") begin to function independently from August 2016.