StreetNet Presentation to Plenary

On Monday – 8 June, Gladys Mponda addressed the plenary on behalf of StreetNet.

Gladys Mponda, StreetNet representative, addressing plenary session of International Labour Conference

Pat Horn, StreetNet International Coordinator commented that despite the disappointing failure to get a clear recognition of the right of informal workers to participate in collective negotiations, not limited by bad national practices, they did manage to win some other new points which have not been in ILO instruments so far. “ For example ‘integrated policy framework should address the promotion of local development strategies, both rural and urban, including regulated access for the use of public spaces and access to public natural resources for subsistence livelihoods’ – and then after a lot of fighting, and losing the issue in other parts of the text, we finally got a Clause in the Preamble saying that existing livelihoods of workers in the informal economy should be preserved during the process of the transition to formalisation. By the end of the week there should be the latest version of what has been agreed for presentation to the plenary on Friday, where the Conference will vote on the adoption of the Recommendation.”

Ms Mponda said there are major challenges that face the ILO in continuing to remain relevant in this future work scenario.

1. Becoming more effective at local government level

Like all United Nations bodies,the ILO works at two levels – international and national. Currently ILO instruments do not address the role and responsibilities of local government, save for general pronouncements about the importance of different levels of government coordinating their work.

2. Adapting tripartite structures to become more inclusive of new kinds of workers

In the years since StreetNet was first accredited to attend the International Labour Conference in 2004, we have made many efforts to get recognition for the rights of own-account workers to be directly represented by their own democratically-elected negotiators in collective negotiations with the appropriate negotiations counterparts who hold power over their working conditions – and these are not employers, but authorities such as local government authorities. However, our experience is that incumbent representatives of the traditional employed workforce are not yet ready grasp the challenge of establishing new types of bargaining forums, which are more representative of the workers in the informal economy and new forms of work, least of all self-employed workers.

Our second challenge to the ILO for the next centenary is to find ways for tripartite structures to adapt so as to increase their level of representation of workers in these new forms of work.

For the full speech, CLICK here