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Informal workers growing older in the changing world of work: Implications for economic and social policies

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Laura Alfers, Frances Lund, Siviwe Mhlana, Mike Rogan and Valance Wessels

Date: Wednesday, 17th October 2018

Time: 4:15pm

Venue: Eden Grove Seminar Room 2

The series is run by the Neil Aggett Labour Studies Unit (NALSU) and the Departments of Sociology, History, and Economics & Economic History.

THE PAPER: The majority of workers in the global south (“developing countries”) now work informally, and increasing numbers of workers in the global north do the same. Informal work is defined as work without legal and social protection. There is relatively good awareness in social policy circles of the numbers of people who enter retirement with insufficient coverage to ensure financial security in their older years. Little attention has been paid to the specific position of informal workers in their older years, and even less focus on the long term effects, on income security in older years, of the process and patterns of contractualisation. There is an enormous gap in understanding of specific effects on poorer women workers, and how this in itself will impact on the dynamics of cross-generational legacies of poverty.

WIEGO is in the process of initiating a substantial research programme in this area, between 2019 and 2021. We welcome this opportunity of sharing the framework of the research, and the intended mix of methodologies, with colleagues at NALSU.

THE SPEAKER: Francie Lund lives in Durban, and was in the School of the Built Environment and Development Studies, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, specialising in Social Policy. She has a special interest in the gendered effects of social assistance to poor households; in the political economy of paid and unpaid care work, and how unpaid care work helps or hinders access to paid work; in the relationship between child care provision and women’s incomes; and in occupational health and safety for informal workers.  She has worked as researcher and policy consultant for a wide range of international organizations and agencies, including the Africa Union, the Europe Commission, the ILO, UNRISD, UN Women, the World Bank, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development), and for local, provincial and national government in South Africa. Francie Lund is a former director of the Social Protection Programme of the global research and advocacy network, WIEGO – Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing. The regional research and advocacy around social protection was done mainly in Latin America and in South East Asia, through and with organisations of member-based organisations of informal workers


The Last Labour Studies Seminar for 2018

Dr Laura Alfers(WIEGO), Prof Francie Lund(WIEGO), Ms Siviwe Mhlana(NALSU), Prof Michael Rogan(NALSU) and Mr Valance Wessels(NALSU)