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Of Informal Sector Labourers

The Informal Economy: Challenges for Trade Unions

Published Year: 2005

Published by: Democratic Confederation of Nepalese Trade Unions (DECONT) & Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES)

Price: Not mentioned

Pages: 26



The informal sector labor has always been a matter of debate in many national and international forums. But this issue has never been taken seriously in Nepal. In a number of cases even labor relations experts in Nepal are not sure about how workers in the informal sectors are contributing to the national economy. The officials at the Department of Labour and Trade Unionist often seem untroubled about the plight of informal sector workers.

Even though the total contributions of informal sector in the national economy are over 50 per cent; it has always remained unnoticed in the national economic accounting.

In fact, the informal economic activities are not a new phenomenon. They have been in practice for many decades. Development experts and economists admit that an adequate focus is yet to be laid on these areas even in the developed countries.

The International Labor Organization (ILO), the only international organization that is expected to address the problems relating to the informal sector laborers, has failed to play a role in institutionalizing the contributions of laborers in informal sector across the globe.

There is a greater degree of confusion about the informal sector laborer in the country. Even trade unions have not dared brought forward their official views about the informal sector.

The issue of informal sector economy has been a challenge since long. The role of the government in addressing the problem (relating to the components) of informal sector economy is very insignificant.

Neither official trade unions have brought forward their institutional views nor do concerned officials have any interests in this regard.

The issue of informal sector had remained untouched since long. Having realized this, the Democratic Confederation of Nepalese Trade Unions (DECONT) has tried to address this issue through its publication.

The book entitled "The Informal Economy Challenges for Trade Union" is all about the informal sector economy that at least help draw some ideas about how informal sector dominates the overall economic phenomenon.

The book consists of five different chapters such as the informal economy, Nepal's informal economy, DECONT's policy, Strategy and Activities to Address the Informal Economy, Dent work in the informal economy: the role of trade unions and reflections on a third way.

The first chapter deals with the dynamics of the informal sector economy. The second chapter is about Nepal's informal economy, which gives the background of informal sector, overall employment scenario and status of legal protection for the informal sector workers. A vivid description of informal sector labour in Nepal helps inderstand how people in informal sector have been contributing to the national economy.

The book also offers an overall employment scenario. It states that "a very few studies have been carried out to analyze the Nepalese employment trend". Those that are available have not been able to do so in a holistic manner, producing more segregated data than anything else.

The book also contains the issue relating to the widening informal employment.

Above all the book gives overall information about the informal sector labour in Nepal. The efforts of publisher and researchers should be appreciated. However, it is surprising the name of author of the book has not been mentioned anywhere.

Even though the book contains lots of information about the informal sector economy, the subject matter and the issues raised in the book are based on the assumptions of the DECONT.

Undoubtedly, the DECONT has done a tremendous job in protecting the rights of labourers across the country, but it would not be essential to focus on the DECONT's activities alone. Keeping these lapses aside, the book contains a great value in understanding the dynamics of informal sector economy in the country. The cooperation of the FES for such publication should be appreciated.

Source: Friday Supplement, The Rising Nepal (24 March 2006)

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