“The challenge we had, was to figure out, what services are we going to give to these people but now we have realized that the services are many but the main challenge is now to discuss with them their social protection: how can we support them when they retire and how could a medical insurance be realized?” - Aziz Kirya, General Secretary of the ‘Amalgamated Transport and General Workers Union’ on the challenges in organising informal workers and granting them social protection.
As part of the objectives to support worker unions and to strengthen organizing and social security of informal workers, FES held a workshop with the Amalgamated Transport and General Workers Union (ATGWU) on 10th October 2017.
Joining FES for the meeting, Jürgen Schwettmann, a former ILO Official, shared information on the opportunities and challenges of organizing in the informal economy, especially for transport workers and later on presented lessons learned in social protection from different African countries, where collective health insurance systems have been implemented and functioned.
In the following discussion, many voices mentioned the prospers being organized, looking at higher living standards, possibilities to collective saving and a stronger voice towards authorities. At the same time they showed that there is need to further sensitize the society and state institutions to recognize the contribution of informal workers and thus their worker rights. In terms of social security, the participants agreed, that most workers are not willing to save since health insurance schemes are extremely expensive, which comes with a lack of awareness of the benefits of social security. On the other hand, saving schemes are still not friendly to informal workers and that governmental authorities should be paying explicit attention to the informal economy when reforming the social security system.
ATGWU and FES is cooperating further in doing training in organizing and to jointly advocating to politically find solutions to enlarge social protection for informal workers.
Link to the ATGWU Website: