BIICL is delighted to be joining forces with Solidar Suisse and Pragya in a project aimed to assess and promote new and innovative modes of organising for marginalized informal/precarious workers in Asia. GLP-Power seeks to enhance workers' agency and effective bargaining, increase the visibility of workers' causes, and support regional solidarity and inclusion while overcoming the impediments and restricted democratic space in their environments.
The project's specific objectives include:
- To develop a regional platform for marginalized informal/precarious workers in Asia comprising workers and/or their organisations in a participatory, 'bottom-up' process.
- To facilitate an enabling environment by sensitizing and fostering a supportive network of stakeholders and propelling local and regional ownership and visibility.
- To conduct participatory action research and generate an evidence-base on alternative modes of organising and their benefits in terms of agency, participation and access to rights.
The project focuses on the challenges facing informal workers in 7 Asian countries namely: Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, and Nepal with a focus on industries including agriculture, construction, textile, tourism, domestic work, mining, and fishing. Generally excluded from labor laws and collective bargaining, informal workers are more exposed to violations of labour rights including health and safety issues, and more vulnerable to abuses and discrimination. Building upon the existing efforts of workers' organizations, the project is creating an active sharing platform connecting workers from various sectors and countries at a regional level to share experiences, learn from each other and from the research, and build capacity for change.
The underpinning message of the project is that rights of informal workers must be recognised and their agency facilitated. Workers are agents of change and are able to bring about fundamental improvements to their lives if they are able to organise into democratic, sustainable organisations with self-leadership, and can subsequently bargain for their rights with relevant power centres.
BIICL's role is to provide international and comparative law analysis to support the work of the platforms which will be developed in each of the countries, at the sub-regional level and eventually at the regional level. On the basis of this analysis, BIICL will also develop and deliver capacity building materials and sessions for the platforms. This will include training on workers' rights and on the relevant international legal frameworks that enable their protection, including ILO Conventions and UN human rights frameworks.
The methodology for the research includes desk research and legal analysis, consultation with country-specific grassroots partners and with regional or international experts, surveys for mapping the needs and challenges of marginalized worker populations, and Participatory Action Research for Evidence-based generation.
This project is made possible through the generous support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).