GLI Manchester 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.

Before the project began, the GLI was commissioned to carry out research and write a baseline report for the ITF on Precarious Labour and Decent Work in the Transport Industry.

Its goal was to improve knowledge of the extent, nature and trends in precarious and informal employment in the major transport sectors, and to identify the experience of union organisation, representation and collective bargaining among precarious and informal workers. The report brings together findings from 51 unions in 38 countries.

The Informal Transport Workers Project that followed was led by ITF ‘mentor unions’ in Niger, Uganda, Nepal, Philippines and Colombia, and provided seminars, workshops and training programmes for ITF affiliates in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The project focused on:

  • Visibility of women workers in informal transport: mapping and raising the visibility of women workers in the informal transport economy, and increasing their participation in unions.
  • Leadership education and dialogue: raising awareness and mutual understanding between leaders and members of trade unions and transport workers in the informal economy.
  • Organising skills, training and technical support: providing training for activists in organising by and for informal transport workers, and technical advice in the design of union constitutions, procedures and structures for active participation by informal workers.

 FILM: The Power of Informal Transport Workers

In 2016 GLI Manchester released our new short film, “The Power of Informal Transport Workers

“The Power of Informal Transport Workers” shows how informal transport workers across the world are organising in trade unions to fight back against precarious and dangerous working conditions.

Produced as part of the ITF Informal Transport Workers Project, the film brings together interviews with union activists from seven different countries who talk about the challenges that informal workers face and the ways in which their unions are building informal worker power.

The film highlights how women workers, who generally occupy the most precarious and poorly paid jobs in the sector, are joining unions to fight back against societal discrimination, sexual harassment and abuse at work.

According to Jodi Evans, ITF Women’s Officer, the pioneering work of unions involved in the ITF Informal Transport Workers Project has “exploded the myth” that informal workers are unorganisable.

The film ends with a powerful call to action by union organiser John Mark Mwanika from ATGWU Uganda who calls on trade unions to embrace mass membership of informal transport workers and to “globally mobilise” around the Informal Transport Workers’ Charter, which demands decent work and union recognition for all transport workers.

News and updates of this project can be found at the Informal Workers’ Blog.

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