Many developing countries suffer from the lack of labour market regulation, unequal access to rights, education, health care, and social protection, and inadequate framework conditions for companies. This creates instability, conflicts between workers and employers, and a large informal economy. Such conditions slow down and undermine the creation of sufficient decent jobs and sustainable development.
The State is responsible for complying with international legislation and securing its citizens jobs, health care, education and a life without poverty. For this to happen, it is, however, essential not to ignore the potential contribution of social partners. From both the private and the public sector.
Strong and representative trade unions and employer organizations play a crucial role in the creation of stable democratic societies. Therefore, we work to strengthen our sister organizations with regards to informing and organizing members, providing competent counceling, training their elected representatives, and practising political advocacy.
When equal parties negotiate constructively instead of throwing themselves into unnecessary conflicts, we belive they will create favourable and long-lasting solutions. Therefore, we work to strengthen the parties on both sides of the negotiating table. So that they have the knowledge and organizational ability to meet their counterpart on equal terms, negotiate and honour common agreements, and furthermore, gain influence on relevant legislation.
The challenge of organizing in the informal economy
A particular challenge for many developing countries is the fact that up to 80 percent of the economy is informal. Approximately two billion people work in the informal economy without any agreements about wages and working conditions and without access to social protection.
The informal economy constitutes a critical poverty problem – but it also represents a potential for growth and development. Among other things through the development of the many small and medium-sized enterprises found in the informal sector.
Therefore, we support local trade unions in becoming better at including workers on temporary contracts in collective agreements and securing them equal access to social benefits.
We also support the social partners in working politically to facilitate the establishment of formal companies, and to improve the access to and quality of vocational training – and thereby the availability of a skilled workforce.