; description
Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out
Your Federal Quarterly Tax Payments are due April 15th Get Help Now >>



  • pg 1
                 OF THE ILO



Trade Union Training on Freedom of Association and
  Organizing in the Informal Economy and Export
              Processing Zones (EPZ)

         21– 25 Nov. 2005: Bangkok, Thailand

                (Asia/Pacific: English)

                                           Last Updated on 01/01/11

  The Workers' Education Programme of the Bureau for Workers' Activities (ACTRAV) of
  the ILO assists trade unions in their training activities in order to expand their
  membership and activities, to enhance their capacity of representing members, to improve
  their negotiating skills, and to effectively participate in various decision-making
  processes. The Programme for Workers’ Activities of the International Training Centre
  of the ILO (ACTRAV-Turin) is an integral part of this ILO/ACTRAV’s Education
  Programme, and has a specific task of implementing various training activities to assist
  trade unions in strengthening their expertise and training capacity in current strategic
  technical issues.

  This training course, “A3-50965: Trade Union Training on Freedom of Association
  and Organizing in the Informal Economy and Export Processing Zones (EPZ)”, is
  designed to contribute to the capacity building of national unions in selected countries in
  Asia for effectively protecting and promoting the most fundamental rights of the workers
  – Freedom of Association and Right to Collective Bargaining –in the informal economy
  and export processing zones (EPZ). The programme will also focus on how best unions
  can try to actually organize those workers into unions through new strategies, techniques
  and institutional arrangements.

  Informalization of employment is one of the most salient phenomenons in the world of
  work under the current process of globalization. Increasing global competition in markets
  has been discouraging employers to make good investment in human resource
  development and work environment, resulting in the massive reduction in the numbers of
  formal employment and decent work. In many developing countries, due to a weak
  economic position in the global economy and the low level of enforcement of labour and
  social legislations, workers are now forced to accept precarious, unstable, informal types
  of work, often sacrificing their rights and hopes for decent work. In Asia, it is estimated
  that 65% or more of non-agricultural workers are employed in the informal economy, and
  this figure is increasing.

  The expansion of Economic Processing Zones (EPZs) is another notable trend in the
  region in the midst of ever-toughening global competition for foreign investment and
  export. Many countries in the region perceived the EPZs as a short cut for achieving
  economic growth with more employment and foreign currencies. Such a sentiment is
  well reflected in the sharp rise in the number of the zones. In 1970, the number of EPZs
  was only a handful, but in 2004, the ILO estimates that there are 5,174 EPZs in the world.
  During the same period, employment in the zones has also sharply risen, from a few
  thousand in 1970 to 42 million in 2004.

  The expansion of the informal economy and EPZs has become the biggest challenge for
  trade unions in the region. Workers in the informal economy and EPZs are often denied
  their rights since they are often excluded from the coverage of the labour legislations and
  social protection schemes. In case of EPZs, Governments often introduces flexible
  applications of, sometimes even exemptions from, labour legislations in the area, in an
  attempt to attract more foreign investments. As a result, violations of FOA and CB have
  been quite common in those economies.

  It is often extremely difficult for workers and trade unions to organize the unorganized
  workers in the informal economy and EPZs. In order to solve this problem, it is crucial
  for workers’ organizations to build their capacities in two-interlinked areas. Firstly, they
  must know how to effectively utilize various international instruments, in particular the
  ILO’s international labour standards and supervisory mechanism, to create spaces, or
  “enabling environment”, for their organizing and negotiating activities. Without the
  assurance for these fundamental rights, unions will never be able to effective represent the
  voices of workers in the informal economy and EPZs.

  Secondly, unions must develop new strategies for organizing workers in the informal
  economy and EPZs. A starting point for this approach is to understand that the work
  environment and general needs of workers in these economies are different from those of
  workers in the formal or traditional types of employment. Unions then must develop new
  approaches, methods and tactics, and institutional mechanism to effectively organize and
  retain those workers in their organizations.

  This training course, A3-50965, will assist trade union leaders and activists in Asia to
  achieve these goals through comprehensive discussions and knowledge sharing on the
  means to create enabling environment for organizing and on the strategies for organizing
  the unorganized workers in the informal economy and EPZs.


  The programme will contribute to:
     1)   Developing policies and strategies of trade unions in protecting and promoting
          Freedom of Association (FOA) and organizing in the informal economy and
          Export Processing Zones (EPZs);
     2)   Promoting effective use by workers’ organizations in Asia of all the available
          international instruments for protection and promotion of FOA and CB, in
          particular the supervisory mechanisms of the ILO, to create enabling
          environment for organizing;
     3)   Developing debates on new methodologies and approaches to organizing the
          unorganized workers in the informal economy, and promoting culture of
          organizing in the region; and
     4)   Creating regional solidarity networks of workers’ organizations in Asia for
          timely and regular exchanges of information and experiences on their efforts in
          organizing workers in the informal economy.


  Upon completion of the programme, the participants will be able to:
     a)   Deepen their understanding on the negative impact of globalization on the
          implementation of FOA and CB, in particular in the informal economy and EPZ;
     b)   Explain major provisions of the international labour standards on FOA and CB,
          in particular Convention 87 and 98, and analyse their current situations with the
          benchmarks set by those standards;
     c)   Define roles and responsibilities of national and international trade unions in the
          effective applications of the international labour standards based on the ILO’s
          supervisory mechanisms;
     d)   Utilize other international instruments that can also be used to protect and
          promote FOA and CB, including ILO Tripartite Declaration on Principles
          concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, OECD’s Guidelines for
          Multinational Enterprises, UN’s Global Compact and International Framework
          Agreements by Global Union Federations;
     e)   Acquire knowledge on practical examples of new trade union strategies,
          techniques and approaches to organizing workers in the informal economy and
     f)   Identify the most appropriate institutional arrangements for organizing the
          unorganized workers in the informal economy and EPZs, and propose reform
          plans for their organizations;
     g)   Use the “Trade Union Education Manuel for Organizing in the Informal
          Economy” for their own education programmes, and develop suitable training
          curriculum for their leaders and activists;
     h)   Know how to use computer communications to build up and/or to be part of
          regional and national networks of trade unions whereby they can regularly share
          information and experience on FOA/CB and organizing activities in the informal
          economy and EPZs; and
     i)   Propose action plans for their organization to effectively create enabling
          environment through all the means for application of FOA and to promote
          organizing in the informal economy and EPZs.


  This five-day training programme will include mainly the following contents:

  Day 1:
   1) Introduction to the ILO and its standard setting roles;
   2) Analyses of the impact of globalization on FOA and CB;
   3) Analyses of the current workers’ rights situations in Asia;
   4) Introduction to FOA;

  Day 2:
   5) Specific cases of violations of FOA and the provisions of Convention 87;
   6) Elaboration of Convention 87;
   7) Specific cases of violations of Right to Collective Bargaining and the provisions of
      Convention 98
   8) Elaboration of Convention 98;

  Day 3:
   9) Application of FOA and CB: Supervisory mechanisms of the ILO;
   10) Writing a workers’ comment on the application of Convention 87 and 98 under the
       regular supervisory mechanism (Article 22) and/or under the Annual Review of the
       ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work
   11) Committee of Freedom of Association (CFA);
   12) Preparing and filing a complaint to CFA

  Day 4:
   13) Introduction to the Trade Union Education Manual on “Organizing in the Informal
   14) Understanding the informal economy – Problems and Causes, and Key Challenges
       for Trade Unions
   15) Organizing the unorganized workers in the informal economy: trade union
       strategies and methodologies

  Day 5:
   15) Workers’ Rights and Strategies for the Future
   16) Summary of the course
   17) Evaluation


  Participants in this course must be either:
      A member of a national executive committee (or equivalent) of national or
       industrial level union who is responsible for making trade union policy and
       strategy for protection of FOA/CB and/or for organizing the unorganized
      A technical staff working at the headquarters of national or industrial level union
       who is responsible for directly assisting national leadership in their making trade
       union policy and strategy for protection of FOA/CB and/or for organizing the
       unorganized workers; or
      A member of national executive committee or national staff who is responsible
       for planning and delivering training/education programmes in the field of labour
       standards and workers’ rights, and organizing the unorganized workers.

  The participants’ job profile must be as such that they can fully participate in the delivery
  of this training program, and also immediately apply the experience, knowledge and
  skills acquired from this course in his/her day-to-day work. It is important therefore that
  invited organizations, when nominating candidates, ensure that the selected nominees
  have the basic qualifications and strong aptitude to transfer their acquired knowledge and
  skills for the benefit of the whole organization.

  (1). Submission of a Country/Organization Report on FOA and Organizing

        Each participant, once selected, is required to prepare and submit in advance a
        country/organizational report on the subject of the course. This is a compulsory for
        all the participants.

        The report should comprise details of the current situations, problems and
        challenges faced by your organization related to the FOA and organizing in the
        informal economy. The following is a list of issues to be included in the report:

       a) General descriptions of the workers’ situations in the informal economy, with
          particular emphasis on the fundamental rights of workers, job-security, safety
          and health and wages and other working conditions;

       b) Descriptions of the past efforts/initiatives taken by your organization in
          organizing the unorganized workers in the informal economy and EPZs,
          including in particular the success stories and/or major difficulties they were

       c) Descriptions of the past and current use of the supervisory mechanism of the
          ILO by your organization, particularly in relation to the violation of Freedom of
          Association in the informal economy and EPZs;

       d) Descriptions of the priority agenda or new strategy/program for your
          organization to successfully organize the workers in the informal economy and

       e) Description of the training/education programs that your organization is
          offering for your leaders/activists/organizers on organizing skills and workers’
          rights; and

       f) Description of specific areas of activities that your organization is trying to
          implement to organize the workers in the informal economy and EPZs.

        The report, to be typed with a word-processor on A4-size paper, must be prepared
        by the participants themselves, and be submitted by Monday, 14 November 2005
        to ACTRAV-Turin via E-mail (actrav@itcilo.org) or via Fax (+39-0116936589).

  2. Collection of Relevant Resource Materials

        The participants are also requested to collect and bring to the venue any resource
        materials on the issues relevant to this training course, including for example:

         Campaign or training materials produced by your union in relation to
          organizing the workers in the informal economy; and
         Past reports/comments submitted from your organization to the ILO on cases of
          violation of FOA in the informal economy or EPZs

  This training programme will be conducted based on the active learning principles and
  techniques. This form of education stresses “learning by doing”. The techniques and
  methods used involve active learning principles, group discussions, role-play, group
  presentations and practical exercises, case studies and motivational exercises.


  Training materials, such as modules, handouts, booklets and CD-ROMs, will be
  distributed. Each participant is also requested to prepare copies of their own resource
  and/or training materials on the relevant issues of the course.


  The seminar will be conducted in English; therefore, participants must have a good
  command of English. All the participants are expected to actively take part in all the
  discussions and activities throughout the programme.


   The programme will be organized in Bangkok, Thailand, starting from 21 to 25
   November 2005. The venue of the course will be announced in due course.

   The venue of the course is:

     The Asian Workers Occupational Health, Safety and Environment Institute (OHSEI)
     Sindhorn Building 15th Floor, Tower 3,
     130-132 Wittayu Rd., Patumwan, Bangkok 10330, THAILAND
     Tel: +66-2-2632330                Fax: +66-2-650-9346
     E-mail: ohse@ohseinstitute.org    Website: www.ohseinstitute.org

   The participants will be accommodated at:

     Bangkok Palace Hotel
     1091/336 New Petchburi Rd., Bangkok 10400 Thailand
     Tel: +66-2-253-0510              Fax: +66-2-2530556


To top