7/29, Session 1 – Chen

Thank You Ivan Ivan and I got to know each other as members of the Planning Committee and I could tell that I wanted to meet him and I’m so glad to have done so and thank you for that that framing I do have one question but I’ll leave that for the for the discussion period I want to thank the Institute of Medicine and particularly the forum on public-private partnerships and in particular for the two people across the way Clarence Clarion and Kimberly for steering the planning committee and this event and I was intrigued in fact I hadn’t quite understood that this was the inaugural workshop of this particular forum and I think it’s really a delight and honor a pleasure because for somebody like myself who’s worked on the informal economy for quite a few years to have this as the heart of the discussion in the inaugural session is is really important to me and to I’m not just from Harvard University I’m really here because I coordinate a global action research network on the informal economy called we go um all right i’m going to try let’s see okay my remarks will be in four parts i’ll do a little introducing of the definitions and concepts of informal employment and also share some recent data the data are improving folks we do have more data we have data now the ILO and we go have a database with data from 50 countries capturing those categories that were in the diagram that Bob shared with us before so we are getting better on the data and then I’ll talk about the risks of exposure and the barriers to access that are faced my informal workers and this would be based on some research that was done i’m bringing in the research work Roger by the we go work network and our partners in 10 cities around the world so it’s on the urban informal workforce which is the topic here and then I’ll illustrate the findings with three particular cases of urban informal workers home-based workers street vendors and waste pickers and over the break Mariah and I ever talking if you think of the female workforce in India also in neighboring Pakistan in modern India modern palace thirty percent of the female workforce is home based so it’s a very significant sector but not only for women there also a lot of men who do repair and other kinds of work from the homes and then I’ll end with some thoughts about the way forward and some of the key issues and the different models and that we need to think about over these two days but first I just wanted to say one thing about the Wego network because our commitment is to increasing 3 v’s for the informal workforce the first is voice and we do that by supporting and helping to strengthen and build organizations of informal workers and networks of those organizations by sector so national regional and international networks of four groups of informal workers in particular we have worked with domestic workers and the three groups that i’ll feature in the presentation today the second V is visibility so we have a program on statistics and it’s headed by somebody who worked in un statistics for all of her career until she joined we go and we collaborate with the ILO and the International Conference of Labor statisticians and the UN statistical division to improve official data so we’re very seriously committed to increasing visibility in official statistics but also of course through research and then for the sake of a third V we call it validity which is that the informal workers are not the problem like you said the informal workers are mostly working poor trying to earn an honest living but the policy and regulatory environment make it extremely difficult for them so the problem really lies with the policy regulatory environment not with the majority there’s a small wedge of the informal economy that’s criminal illegal underground gray black whatever term is being used but the vast majority are are working poor and one of the functions of

the wig on network is bridging the micro and the macro the grass roots and the mainstream and so it’s a great honor that we’re here today with you and that we have several speakers from the week 0 network and including most notably mere I chatterjee who from say woe which is a founding member of we go so concepts and terms and definitions these were used in the agenda on there they’re in paper but I just wanted to go over them again and I was very glad for Bob to use that diagram and I looked at it carefully and it does capture correctly these these interrelated concepts initially the informal sector was thought about in terms of enterprises there was an enterprise based definition and this was adopted by the International Conference of Labor statisticians in 1993 and it refers to the production and employment that takes place in and this is the definition unincorporated enterprises enterprises that are not a legal entity and don’t report their accounts um some countries also use they’re not registered with the local authority or or they’re small so these Universal definitions there’s always a little flexibility around the edges for different countries to use but at the core they’re not legal entities informal employment is a broader concept with its own definition that frankly the we go net work fought for long and hard because we knew that a lot of the members of sable for instance were not just working in informal enterprises right some of them were working for formal enterprises some of them were working for households some more casual day laborers that had six different employers so we had to capture something broader and so this broader concept was developed with the ILO and was adopted by the International Conference of Labor statisticians in 2003 so it refers to its an employment-based definition and it refers to employment without social protection through work ie without an employer contribution both inside and outside the informal sector which is part of the concept but it’s the narrower part and so this could be for informal enterprises for formal enterprises or for households not all domestic workers are without Social Protection contributions but a lot of domestic workers are informal working for households I should say point out in this context with private sector partners here that the growing segment in almost every country is informal employment for formal enterprises that’s the one that we see growing a lot and that’s why the europeans use this term precarious employment because they can see more and more of it and then informal economy is sort of the broadest concept it refers to all units activities enterprises workers so defined and the output from them and this too was endorsed by the international labor organization and its annual conference in 2002 so in sum the informal economy is the diversified set of economic activities enterprises workers that are not regulated by the state and do not have employment based social protection and the output that they produce and in india we heard that they produce fifty percent or more of gdp so I I wanted to go through that definition although it’s there just so we’re very clear and I will elaborate a little bit on informal employment because we are talking about the informal workforce and this is one way to get at who we’re talking about which is and this concept was used by Ivan status in employment labor statisticians categorized workers by status and employment it’s not just formal versus informal it’s actually more subcategories and so the two basic categories are whether you’re self-employed and whether you have a wage worker right and the self employed in informal enterprises are part of the informal economy there are self-employed professionals I’m sure there’s some here in the room but those don’t belong in the informal economy and the categories of the self-employed that are very important to keep in mind some are employers who hire others but that group is less than five percent in most countries and it’s less than ten percent

in China but most places it’s less than five percent all right and I say that because when we’re thinking of poor and non-poor in the informal economy we have data from a growing number of countries the only group that’s non pour in the informal economy are the employers who hire others all the rest the poor own account workers the own account workers are those who operate on their own account don’t hire workers may have some unpaid contributing family workers they often in many countries earn on average less than the employees of the informal employers so they’re they’re not doing all that well and the and then of course they’re the unpaid contributing family workers who are sharing that meager income with the own account person who’s head of a family firm and then there are some but we don’t capture many of these informal producer cooperative members the wage workers in the informal jobs are the informal employees of the informal implementer prizes but they also their informal employees of formal firms and domestic workers hired by individuals households without employer but if you notice in this definition this is still the official definition there are other categories that aren’t in here where are the casual day laborers right and a big category that we work with are the industrial out workers they’re not in here so another frontier in improving data is that we’re working with the international conference of Labor statisticians to open up and have more categories and unpack employees and what kind of employees and there’s these are the basic categories but they don’t do the full job so there’s another frontier in improving the data on these workers all right so here’s one slide that captures 17 years of work it looks so simple here we are at some averages and ranges for the incidents of informal employment in na nag employment but it’s taken 17 years of work to get this and the next frontier is to define informality in agriculture because there isn’t a consensus we have to get the FAO to agree and the ILO and we don’t have it yet we have a definition but it’s all those the formal are those who work in plantations or large farm holders the smallholders the agricultural day laborers the pastoralists the fisher folk the forest gatherers they’re all informal but we can’t measure it yet but if we measured informal employment as a share of total employment the average and ranges the percentages would be higher so South Asia is the region with the highest incidence eighty-two percent with a range and this is na nag employment India does capture informality and aggregate it does itself so then we get if we add agriculture it goes up to ninety four percent but in on AG it’s 84 in only urban in India it’s eighty percent so eighty percent only urban eighty-four percent non egg and ninety-four percent total employment is informal in modern India sub-saharan Africa we were surprised by the regional estimate but we know it’s lower because in the southern cone particularly South South Africa the incidence is much lower than in other parts so it’s as high as eighty-two percent of non AG employment in Mali we have a national figure for total employment in Ghana and it’s ninety percent so and East and Southeast Asia not far behind this does not include China we finally have some data from China urban China’s six cities and it’s about one-third of urban employment in modern China excluding the migrants you include the migrants and it’s then it’s higher Latin America just over half but a fair fairly broad range of countries and the Middle Eastern North Africa it’s the lowest incidence in developing regions but I’m told by ruggy Assad who does really good work on on labor force data that if you excluded the public sector in that region there’s a lot of public sector employment you’d have figures similar to probably South Asia so those this is what we’ve been able to pull together it’s taken a lot of work and I just I wish I had included two slides that I didn’t one was a slide with some pictures anyway I was in a

rush i guess but just to give you a sense i’ve given you a sense who they would be in the rural areas what we know and we know it quite well for the urban areas is that too big sectors are construction and transport and then personal services of various kinds including domestic work quite large and then the three groups all the four groups that we’re concerned about domestic workers home-based workers street vendors and waste pickers and we now have this is another frontier we crossed we now have data for 60 in cities ten countries I think on the actual percentage of the urban workforce that are these different categories the four categories we work with domestic workers home-based workers street vendors waste pickers in modern urban India represent one-third of the modern labor force so one in three are in these very low and you’d think you’d have more high-end stuff in urban parts in urban areas so these are significant groups and they they are on average at very poor levels of earnings from poor households that depend largely on informal employment we have some breakdown on that score as well and they are at the bottom of the pyramid but they’re economically active and they contribute and we’re delighted that the universal health coverage debate wants to incorporate them so let’s look at what we know from our research on the linkages between the informal workers universal health occupational and just going to talk about the risks of exposure that they face relative to formal workers and then the barriers to access and then I’ll look at the three groups so relative to formal workers they have greater exposure to health risks especially the occupational health risk the kinds of work environments there in the kinds of things they do you know they’re breaking down that ship in Italy I mean the ship breaking industry is one of the very toxic I mean the things that they do are very harsh and it’s due both to the living environment and the work environment both are really critical and they have less protection against loss of income when you are ill or when you’re chronically anemic or chronically have a chronic illness um you just don’t earn as much income as you’re not as productive as you might have been and you might even not even be able to work on a given day and you have no compensation for those kinds of days when you can’t work or where your productivity declines because of of ill health and that you don’t have paid sick leave so it’s a very difficult juggling act and they have less protection against the costs of health risk due to the lack of employer contributions to health insurance and as yet limited access to universal health coverage so on both sides the earlier version of employment link they are have much higher risks then the barriers of access they have lacked access de jure to health insurance and health services often because the systems and the schemes and are not appropriately to design and we heard a quite telling account of that from your eye they don’t take into this account the specific realities of informal work the earlier model where it was employment linked assume self-employment was going to go away and you would just have modern wage employment most developing countries that hasn’t happened you have an incidence of self-employment anywhere between a third to a half of the workforce so they’ve never had employer contributions right and now you have once formal wage workers being hired below certain time levels and also they don’t get the predictions and then the risks are very occupation specific risks that they face and they have less access de facto to health insurance and health services even to those which they are entitled one is due to lack of knowledge of their entitlements and mere I had a very practical suggestion just paint what this clinic offers to you free so you know what you’re entitled to they have less ability to negotiate the bureaucracy and I like your bullet about

the formal workers are more organized have more ability to negotiate and the informal workers tend to be less well organized although they are organizing but certainly less ability to negotiate the bureaucracy and then of course they’re the standard leakages and blockages in the health system that we know about and my colleague from South Africa Francie lund will always remind me and it’s not just leakages and blockages but its lack of coordination because where you need to go and I think we’ll hear this from Laura’s presentation for four different things makes it that you have to negotiate a fairly wide number of parts of the city or parts of the health system to get because of the lack of coordination so what we’ve learned about the three specific groups some of these are are common to all three but some are particular to than to the kind of work they do the home-based workers you saw in the picture the woman who made a thousand kites where is she sitting she’s sitting on the floor ok it’s a lot of musculoskeletal stress there’s a lot of exposure to toxic substances who knows what kind of blue she was using the women who make incense sticks are inhaling cold perfume but it’s hardly a perfume at all at all times and there’s a psychological stress it’s a very key factor you keep hearing people talk about the psychological stress of having to fill a work order not getting a work order irregular earnings and what we also know from this recent study is that after the global financial crisis which didn’t wear off its effects on these workers demand is still low inflation has just taken off and so the new financial crisis for them is the cost of fuel the cost of food the cost of education health for the home-based workers their home is their workplace and most of them are working in at best of one-bedroom little place sometimes just a single room with a front verandah and maybe a side kitchen and so this small cramped space doubles as work in living space and often has very poor ventilation if you’re home based you’re often very isolated unless you have a remarkable organization like saber which we’ve heard about or home net Thailand which we will hear about and so you you’re isolated you don’t know that you’re you have sisters who are facing the same problems you’re not necessarily organized and so you don’t really know even what would be preventive health measures some very simple preventive health measurements measures much less what you’re entitled to in terms of health services and you lack bargaining power it isn’t just a technological fix guys that this is an institutional fix in power and organization and being able to negotiate the bureaucracy are huge in this environment and they have limited time and mobility why are thirty percent of women working from their homes in in South Asia is partly due to gender norms that don’t encourage women to deal with strangers to move outside the home so they and their therefore even more handicapped in negotiating the bureaucracy and then there’s like a Rick recognition how many of us knew that thirty percent of the workforce in India how many of us know that eighty percent of manufacturing units in modern India are informal right are enough those of those 75 75 percent are home-based across industries automobile we just don’t know this we don’t know how much production is taking place in the homes and so they’re not really visible to the system and therefore not targeted or or integrated the street vendors on their work involves a lot of hauling transporting on settling goods taking it back for storage at the end of the day I spent two days and two nights with a street vendor in ahmedabad india thanks to say wha a year and a half ago and we we began the day by going to this little place where she toward her goods it was just on the street corner with a tarp and a little log over it and the storekeeper down the way said he would keep an eye on it but she had to go every day to that storage place and bring it unpack it settle her little display on the ground and then at the end of the day take back and then she has to go to the wholesale market which we also went to and and transport goods from there and then you’re sitting

standing moving about physical abuse one source of injury is physical abuse by the police if your street vendors and then again the psychological stress and for the street vendors there’s a constant fear of evictions and confiscates confiscation of your goods and they just always have a watchful eye out for the police and then they too often lack organization although of all the groups the ones that are most likely to have a local organization because they need it to deal with the public authorities are the street vendors and finally the waste pickers um my goodness they’re they’re sorting and they’re transporting goods and they’re reclaiming recyclable waste from from whatever the dump or where they’ve sorted goods and they’re often exposed to hazardous waste materials and they also have psychological stress due to harassment the public doesn’t like them the police don’t like them the dogs don’t like them you know they they’re they’re hounded in in doing this work and of course they’re exposed to the elements and pollution and at the dump sites there’s a real risk of accidents because they’re clamoring up these heaps and these they collapse or the trucks come in with a way so there’s it’s it’s quite hazardous and again lack of organization but one victory there is organization in Brazil and the Brazilian no association of waste pickers won the contract to clean the stadium during the World Cup this was huge it would not happen without organization right and it also had helped that Lula used to spend every Christmas Eve with the waste pickers in in his country he he was very supportive of their cause but it takes organization to get that kind of breakthrough so the way forward I mean these are issues that have already been spelled out but we really do need to think what you know what mix of services and benefits what about promotive and preventive health is it only private insurance for hospitalization like we’re seeing happening in India so much how is it finances is it taxes and/or contributions premiums who provides the insurance is a government is a private for-profit private not-for-profit is it are those providers of insurance regulated is that only for tertiary care who provides the services are those regulated any caps on expenditures this is also India I grew up in India so I followed the story in India very closely and it it really hurts me that there is private insurance and private provision without any regulation and any caps on expenditures it needs to change and what had we had in Japan was an example of a model in the 30s that started with regulation and caps if it’s there from the beginning I don’t know why we fail so miserably in India and then of course we need to reform the occupational health system to take into account the fact that people aren’t working in a shop floor or an office they’re working on the streets they’re working in homes they’re working at construction sites and we need to change those systems so finally this is a dense slide and I’ve tried to capture and my colleagues may say I haven’t quite but the the bullets in bold are what I think we go network and our allies see as essential the ones that are in italics are acceptable and the ones that are in plain text are not acceptable for instance regressive taxes so in terms of services we need the whole range in terms of promotive preventive curative rehabilitative we need the primary secondary tertiary we need the Occupational Health and Safety appropriate to the work of these workers and we need free essential medicines or subsidized in terms of financing we really believe it should be taxed based and progressive tax taxation for insurance government-run would be ideal but private for-profit private nonprofit are acceptable so long as they are regulated and we do also like and

welcome cooperatives that our own insurance cooperatives owned by workers with the say whoa again as sort of the leading star primary example in terms of provision we’ve got to have primary health care centres still in developing countries and we need government hospitals and doctors but we can and have private providers so long as they’re sort of contracted in sort of in a system that has some regulation and finally I just wanted to say we do want public-private partnerships but we want these to include the organization’s of informal workers and we have a database on organizations of informal workers from around the world it’s growing there’s six hundred or so that we actually know of data on and community health workers would be ideal and I just wanted to end on a personal note I have had the deep privilege of working with two remarkable organizations in in South Asia I worked for many years with brac the world’s largest NGO and I’ve worked for even longer with saiba the world’s largest union of informal workers in all of that work the partnership was between the either the NGO and government or the union and government and the private sector was hardly there I know that there was one public-private partnership would say well where it was with the private sector and it was for slum upgrading and it was very successful so I have two things to say to the forum on public-private partnerships one is I’m hugely honored and delighted to be at a discussion where the private is the private sector because I just don’t go to that very often to us the private is civil society and or the organization’s of workers the other is and I’ll end with the slogan of Street net International which is the international network of street vendors that we go and say why helped found and their slogan is nothing for us without us and so I would really challenge if you’re working on health or informal workers that you must indeed have to if we’re going to do this right involve the organization’s of those workers thank you