- Invisible, scattered, difficult to contact: union challenges and strategies to engage contract workers in developing countries
- Number of pages
- Amsterdam: Universiteit van Amsterdam, Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
This report is the result of a study of how trade unions can respond to the challenges of dealing with an increasingly flexible and fragmented labour force. A literature study, a survey and open interviews in four countries were carried out to identify how CNV partner unions can support workers who fall outside of their traditional scope. The number of contract workers in many partner countries has increased rapidly over the past five years and is expected to continue growing in the coming years. This report argues that contract workers are the prime group of informal workers who need to be targeted by trade unions. A widespread use of contract labour affects union strength and undermines the ability of (regular) workers to negotiate with their employer. New strategies should be developed to incorporate contract workers within existing union structures and cater to their specific needs. The most immediate problems facing contract workers are related to income and benefits. These issues can be addressed by enhancing the workers’ level of organisation. Established trade unions can provide guidance, training and other forms of support to enhance their capacity to develop organizational structures, management and leadership. Cooperation and partnerships with other civil society organizations are necessary in order to cater for their multiple needs.
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