ILAW webinar Legal and Advocacy Strategies to ensure workers' rights in the Informal Economy Webinar Series


Dates and times: 

March 31, 2021 - 09:00


online, WA online
United States


Legal and Advocacy Strategies to ensure workers' rights in the Informal Economy Webinar Series | Estrategias jurídicas y de defensa para garantizar los derechos de los trabajadores en la economía informalSerie de webinarios | Stratégies juridiques et de défense des droits des travailleurs dans l'économie informelle série de webinaires
English | español | français

Webinar Series
Legal and Advocacy Strategies to ensure workers' rights in the Informal Economy

The ILAW Network and WIEGO (Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing) would like to invite you to attend a multi-part webinar and workshop series focused on strategic and creative litigation and advocacy strategies to enhance, protect, and help realize the labor and collective rights of workers in the informal economy, including self-employed workers. This webinar series will take place throughout this year, culminating in workshops with interested lawyers, partners, and workers to proactively implement lessons learned from this webinar series through litigation and advocacy. The ILAW Network is also planning the theme for its Winter 2022 Global Labour Rights Reporter to be focused on workers in the informal economy.

The webinar series will start with an introductory webinar focused on understanding different occupational groups and employment statuses that comprise the informal economy and the international legal standards that incorporate, recognize, or provide guidance in realizing labor rights for informal workers. Subsequent sessions will focus on examples of strategic litigation or advocacy that have helped informal workers realize their rights to collective bargaining, social protection, and more. In subsequent webinars, panelists will speak about process, legal arguments deployed and lessons learned through the frame of case studies from around the world. Each session will focus on a sub-topic of how to strengthen, recognize, and protect workers in the informal economy. This series will culminate in a strategic intervention workshop that will be designed to assist participants in identifying potential cases and using the lessons of the webinars to develop their strategic plan for legal, legislative, and/or regulatory challenges.

Webinar 1: Introduction to the Informal Economy

This webinar introduces the informal economy and the vast array of workers that are part of the informal economy. Pamhidzai Bamu will analyze the different employment statuses and occupational groupings that form part of the 'informal economy.’ She will discuss both waged employment and self-employment and broadly discuss the legal challenges and strategies to extending labour rights, in particular collective bargaining and social protection to self-employed informal workers. Marlese von Broembsen will discuss ILO Recommendation 204 concerning the Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy, its potential for realizing the right to collective bargaining for informal self-employed workers, and explore briefly the different regulatory and contractual strategies that street vendors have pursued in various countries. Jacqueline Wamai will discuss how lawyers, informal economy worker organizations, and unions have used creative strategies within existing domestic law, ILO Recommendation 204, and advocacy to challenge existing legal frameworks that exclude informal workers from such rights and protections.

Date: March 31, 2021
Time: 9:00 AM EST
Interpretation will be provided in Spanish.


Marlese von Broembsen is the Director of WIEGO’s Law Program. Marlese holds law degrees from the University of Cape Town and Harvard Law School and an M.A. in Development Studies from the University of the Western Cape. Prior to joining WIEGO, Marlese was a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of Cape Town, where she convened an inter-disciplinary Master's in Social Justice. She was also an adjunct faculty member of North Eastern Law School (USA) in 2018, where she taught a course on law and development. After qualifying as an attorney, Marlese worked for an NGO active in small business development in Cape Town's informal settlements for four years. Marlese was the lead researcher for UCT's Graduate School of Business' Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2005 publication on the informal economy, and wrote the South African paper on small business rights for the UNDP's Commission for the Legal Empowerment of the Poor.
Pamhidzai Bamu is the Africa Coordinator for WIEGO’s Law Program. Pamhidzai was born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe. She holds an LLB, LLM (Labour Law), and a PhD (Labour Law) from the University of Cape Town. She has worked as a researcher in the Institute of Development and Labour Law at the University of Cape Town, and the Social Law Project at the University of the Western Cape, and has undertaken and published research on various labour issues in South Africa and Southern Africa. She completed a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at Stellenbosch University in 2013. Her research project considered the Zimbabwean labour market, with a focus on the development and regulation of its informal economy. During her time at WIEGO, she has worked with the International Domestic Workers' Federation (IDWF) to develop the Toolkit on Domestic Workers and C189, which aims to promote the realization of C189 on the ground. Pamhi is also the coordinator of the Administrative Justice Project. She has a strong interest in worker education to strengthen workers' capacity to know and use the law and to demand their legal recognition and protection as workers. She has also contributed to research and analysis of the COVID-19 laws and their impact on informal workers.
Jacqueline Wamai, Sub-Saharan Africa Coordinator for the ILAW Network. She is a worker’s rights activist and an advocate of the High Court of Kenya, holding a Master’s Degree in Labour Policies and Globalisation from the Berlin School of Economics and Law. She also received a Bachelor’s Degree in Law from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (Kenya) and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Law. Before joining ILAW, she worked as a Legal Advisor for the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions and Hospital Workers (KUDHEIHA). Her main responsibilities were to defend workers and trade union rights in Kenya’s judicial system, promotion of workers’ rights through education, training, and legal advice, and drafting and negotiating Collective Bargaining Agreements. She has held various consultancies with the Bureau for Workers’ Activities of the International Labour Organization. She has been actively engaged in coordinating research in various labour-related topics, including youth and the role of trade unions, violence and harassment at work, legal implications of Chinese investment in Africa outsourcing, and formalizing the informal economy.

Find out more