Strenthening the Political Leverage of Informal Workers: the case of Ghana

Strenthening the Political Leverage of Informal Workers: the case of Ghana
03 Mar

Strenthening the Political Leverage of Informal Workers: the case of Ghana

At the Dissemination Workshop

Dr. Baah-Boateng together with other researchers from Leiden University make presentations at the workshop which looked at working conditions and representation of workers in the informal sector. The findings of the research was based on a study undertaken in the informal sector (with respondents comprising mainly of textile sellers, dressmakers, mechanics and their apprentices among others), The workshop which was held at the Trades Union Congress (TUC) premises in Accra brought together associations and unions under the Union of Informal Workers Association (UNIWA), the umbrella body for informal workers.

Mr. Joshua Ansah, Deputy General Secretary of TUC giving his opening remarks at the workshop



Mrs. Deborah Freeman, Secretary General of UNIWA giving a speech during the event


In the presentation of the analysis of survey conducted, Dr. Baah-Boateng reiterated that Decency of Work as classified by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has been compromised in the informal sector in Ghana. This assertion was supported by the findings made which saw excessive working hours and lower earnings among workers surveyed. Young workers were particularly disadvantaged with regard to lower earnings with seventy percent (70%) of them eking out a living from incomes that are below the minimum wage.


Dr. Baah-Boateng making a presentation on findings made


In addition, he also reported that only a handful of workers surveyed belonged to an association but here again younger informal workers were seen to be less likely to be members of any group. For the main reason why workers joined a union, dialogue with authorities was seen as the most important. He therefore recommended that given the commanding role informal workers play and their large numbers, they can leverage with government if they have a strong and formidable union.

Dr. Kaag from Leiden University giving an overview of the entire project


Giving a qualitative analysis of the research carried out, Dr. Mayke Kaag and Tanja Hendricks (research team members from Leiden University) also saw that diversity of interest, low awareness levels, widespread distrust and partisan politics were some of the challenges that impede the activities of associations in the informal sector. To them, the need to build trust and for the union to be unified in action rather than organization could give them a powerful voice in their dealings with local/central government. They further suggested that formalization of the informal activities which policy makers consider to be crucial in the provision of decent jobs should be founded on trust and be more responsive to the needs of informal workers.


A section of participants at the workshop