Informal economy, labour and trade union experiences in India and Nigeria


1 May 2018


Volume 1 – Number 9

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Ubaldo Martinez Veiga



This article is an attempt to update some notions on the meaning of informal work. From 1973 to the mid-eighties, studies on work and the informal economy were at boiling point. Subsequently there were many empirical studies carried out which were often repeated with little creativity. When some cases presented novel aspects, they were studied in more detail. First, it was observed that many informal workers are unionized, occasionally more often than formal workers. Moreover, informal activity often maintains its autonomy. Workers resist being absorbed into formal employment systems. This inclusion regularly brings them many disadvantages. Another important element appearing in informal work is its active and creative nature. This context gives rise to a social class that confronts the State demanding human rights, which being general rights, are of great importance. Informal work is a system that allows subsistence and resistance to homogenization, which neoliberalism covertly represents in a way that its instrument of penetration into society is called globalisation.


Informal work, Poverty, Economic development, new systems of protest, Subsistence techniques, Human rights, Worker rights.