Social dialogue for the transition from the informal to the formal economy - webinar and resources


As highlighted in the recently published Global Deal thematic brief on the transition from the informal to the formal economy, more than two billion women and men make their living in the informal economy. Informality affects countries in all regions and at all income levels, ranging from 25 per cent of all employment in Europe and Central Asia to nearly 86 per cent in Africa. Globally, more men than women work informally; but in low-income countries, a higher proportion of women are in informal employment. For governments, informality results in a loss of fiscal revenues and social security contributions, and undermines the rule of law; for workers, it usually means lack of social protection, rights at work and decent working conditions; and for enterprises, it gives rise to low productivity, reduced access to finance and other resources, and unfair competition.


On 3 June 2020, the Global Deal Support Unit organised a webinar to shed light on these issues featuring the following speakers:

- Youcef Ghellab, Head of the Social Dialogue and Tripartism Unit at the International Labour Organization (ILO);

- Jane Barrett, Director of Organization and Representation at Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO);

- Gonzalo Giménez Coloma, Advisor at the Directorate of the Spanish Labour and Social Security Inspectorate State Agency; and

- José Antonio Ocampo, Professor at Columbia University and Global Deal Senior Advisor.


Nearly 200 representatives of Global Deal partners and other stakeholders participated to discuss and explore good practices on how social dialogue, involving governments and representatives of employers’ and workers’ organisations, can contribute to the transition to formality and the reduction of decent work deficits in the informal economy.


The presentations included cases studies on the use of social dialogue between workers and public authorities to reduce decent work deficits in the informal economy in Liberia and Colombia, and how social dialogue has been instrumental in designing and implementing an ambitious roadmap to tackle precariousness, protect workers’ rights, and ensure fair competition for businesses in the Spanish labour market. The importance of ensuring access to social protection for informal workers, as well as to skills development, and enterprise development was also raised.


Moreover, the Covid-19 pandemic has severely affected informal workers and is adding even greater urgency to address the consequences of the crisis on the informal economy with the objective to ensure well-being and decent work for workers and economic undertakings.


You can watch the webinar via this link and download the presentations by Jane Barrett and Gonzalo Giménez Coloma


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