“Over two billion workers, representing 61.2 per cent of global employment, are in the informal economy (ILO 2018a). Workers’ experiences differ significantly depending on their occupation, with women concentrated in the segments most likely to be associated with poverty, precarious working conditions, and lack of labour and social protection (ibid; Chen 2012; Carre et al. 2020). During the Covid-19 crisis, many informal economy workers have been particularly vulnerable and exposed to income losses, among them home-based workers. Others were concentrated in sectors deemed essential but characterized by precarious, hazardous, unprotected conditions of work with low pay, including domestic and care work, waste picking and street vending (ILO 2020a; 2020b).

New forms of organizing to tackle decent work deficits in the informal economy have emerged in response. Innovative alliances between trade unions and the SSE (Box 1) are increasing the visibility, voice and power of informal economy workers and their organizations, in line with Recommendation 2015 (No. 204) (Box 2).”