The Global Labour Institute (GLI) supports the organisation, representation and livelihoods of workers in the informal passenger transport economy through research and education programmes, working in partnership with the International Transportworkers Federation (ITF) and various other organisations.
After initial baseline research on livelihoods in the informal transport economy, GLI’s Informal Transport Programme was launched in 2013 with the coordination of a three-year education project with the ITF to support the capacity of trade unions to engage with informal workers in Africa, Asia and Latin America. This was led by ‘mentor unions’ in Uganda, Niger, Philippines, Nepal and Colombia, each working in partnership with unions in their respective regions. The project produced a range of education multi-lingual materials and videos used in national and regional training events to discuss union policy, strategies and practical organising methods, and led to the adoption of the Informal Transport Workers’ Charter at the ITF’s World Congress in 2018.
This has been followed by national projects with unions and workers’ associations in Africa, focused on the potential impact of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems in major cities, detailed economic and social analyses of informal urban passenger transport industries, and practical steps towards the formalisation of informal passenger transport based on the inclusion of democratic workers’ organisations in policy development, planning and implementation.
The programme also includes partnerships with the International Labour Organisation, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and other agencies in capacity development for unions to effectively organise, represent and form alliances with informal transport workers, and to develop strategic policy on the application of ILO standards and recommendations in the formalisation of informal work in the transport industry.
In all activities, GLI is committed to a participatory approach, working with workers’ representatives in all aspects of research and education, supported by local qualified and experienced research specialists in transport and/or the informal economy. Our field research is undertaken by local teams with first-hand knowledge and experience of the industry, ensuring the trust and support of the workers concerned and relevance of the research to their needs.
GLI currently supports the International Transport Workers’ Federation’s (ITF) Our Public Transport campaign, concentrating on work with ITF affiliated unions in Africa representing informal workers, and assessing the impact of “Bus Rapid Transit” in African cities
GLI previously coordinated the Informal Transport Workers Project on behalf of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), launched in October 2013, co-financed by the ITF, FNV (Netherlands) and the ILO.
Abidjan Bus Rapid Transit: Labour Impact Assessment
An assessment of the potential impact of the World Bank-financed Urban Mobility Project, including the introduction of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on the workforce of Dakar’s gbaka and woro-woro informal transport industry and a contribution towards the active engagement of transport workers’ representatives in shaping a modern, accessible, efficient and environmentally sustainable transport system for the city.
The project has been commissioned by the ITF and is due to start field research in 2022.
Socio-economic study of the trotro industry in Accra
A detailed understanding of the socio-economic characteristics of the trotro industry in Accra, its main players, and its business model. This will include the development of a model of operating costs and revenue, an analysis of fuel efficiency and pollutant emissions, and profiles of the trotro workforce and main industry players
The project is being undertaken in partnership with Transitec Consulting Engineers and Organisation Development Africa (ODA), commissioned by the Ghana Urban Mobility and Accessibility Project (GUMAP) of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
The report is due for publication in 2022.
A guide for trade unions and associations of informal transport workers on the impact of the pandemic on informal passenger transport workers, the response of transport authorities and the urgent need for reform towards inclusive formalisation.
The guide was commissioned by the ITF.
A detailed assessment of the market structure and workers’ livelihoods in the informal transport industry in Kampala, including minibus (“taxi”) and motorcycle taxi (“boda-boda”) services. It contributes towards an understanding of how transport services can be incrementally improved and professionalised to minimize some of its negative effects on Kampala overall transport system, maximise opportunities for decent employment and integrate existing informal services in plans for new transport regulation and infrastructure, such as BRT.
The project was commissioned by Agence Française de Développement (AFD) to support the Government of Uganda and the Kampala Capital City Authority in preparation of the planned introduction of BRT.
An assessment of the potential impact of the introduction of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on the workforce of Dakar’s informal transport industry and a contribution towards the active engagement of transport workers’ representatives in shaping a modern, accessible, efficient and environmentally sustainable transport system for the city.
The project was commissioned by the ITF and undertaken in partnership with the Laboratoire de Géographie Humaine at the University of Dakar (UCAD), and Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing & Organizing (WIEGO).
Policy options for trade unions and workers’ associations to consider when planning consultation and negotiation with city governments and transport planning and regulation authorities on the introduction of BRT. It explores the major issues raised by BRT projects as well as the opportunities for a just transition to sustainable and efficient public transport services.
The research and publication was commissioned by the ITF and drew extensively from the contributions of participants in regional ITF workshops on BRT and Inclusive Planning for Sustainable Transport.
An assessment of workers’ livelihoods in the matatu industry, the potential impact and implications of BRT for them in Nairobi, and examples of good practice in the inclusion of workers’ organisations in the development of BRT policy and implementation by local, national and international decision-makers elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa.
The project was commissioned by the ITF, and was delivered in partnership with local trade unions, with the support of the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Nairobi, the Kenya Transport Research Network, and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.
A Case Study of the Amalgamated Transport & General Workers Union (ATGWU) in Uganda which pioneered the successful organisation of more than 100,000 informal transport workers through the formation of alliances with informal workers’ associations.
The project was commissioned by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung as a contribution to its Trade Unions in Transformation project and undertaken by GLI in partnership with ATGWU.
Design and management of research and education in Africa, Asia and Latin America to support the democratic organisation and representation of informal transport workers.
The project included regional policy seminars and training workshops and direct support to unions in their regions in developing skills and policies to build informal workers’ organisation including design and delivery of training for unions and associations of paratransit workers in Niger, Uganda, Nepal, Philippines and Colombia.. The mentor unions developed new organising methods – mapping informal transport hubs, building alliances with informal associations, researching employment relationships, and supporting collective bargaining with employers, governments and transport authorities.
The project was a partnership with ITF and FNV Mondiaal, the international development organisation of the Dutch FNV trade union confederation.
Research and literature review to summarise available data and analysis on the livelihoods, organisation and issues faced by informal transport workers. This provided a baseline and guided the design of the 2013-16 ITF Informal Transport Workers’ Project.
The research was commissioned by the ITF and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in partnership with WIEGO.