Mentor unions key innovation helping informal workers build power

ITF unions around the world are helping informal transport workers realise their power, according to the newly-published evaluation report of the ITF’s informal workers’ project and a video by the ITF and the Global Labour Institute.

The independent report, published on 19 January, examined the project, which ran from 2013-16. It found that the project overall had exceeded expectations and was particularly successful in reaching informal workers engaged in urban passenger transport. More than 60,000 informal transport workers, including 3,500 women, have been newly organised or joined a trade union and there has been a real boost to the voices of women in unions. 

The evaluation praised the idea of working with and through mentor unions as ‘the most striking’ innovation introduced by the project. Other innovations welcomed were the use of mapping, the informal transport workers’ blog, the adoption of the informal transport workers’ charter and networking.

 

The report recommends that the project is extended for a further three years, and that organising informal transport workers should continue to be a priority for the ITF and be integrated into its strategies and activities. It highlighted bus rapid transport and violence against women as needing to be prioritised.

Its recommendations also include:

• Providing opportunities within the ITF for informal transport worker leaders to demonstrate the power of importance and potential of organising these groups

• Positively promoting the inclusion of informal transport workers, particularly women, in ITF unions’ leadership positions, and in international delegations

• Supporting networking between informal transport workers by providing practical support on communication and sharing experiences, especially tracking and sharing how the Informal Workers’ Charter is being used as an immediate focus

ITF education officer Alana Dave said: “ITF unions have made a real difference in the way they reach out to informal transport workers and encourage them to realise their collective power through organising and joining a union. The report shows where things have gone well and, vitally, what more we still need to do.

“The ITF’s Our Public Transport campaign will also give these informal workers a voice in shaping urban transport systems.”

Read the full report (English only). 

Download the executive summary of the report – available in Spanish, French and English.

Read more about the Our Public Transport campaign and use #OurPublicTransport to find photos and videos on Facebook and Twitter.

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