COVID-19 and the World’s Two Billion Informal Economy Workers A WIEGO Network Global Solidarity Platform

COVID-19 and the World’s Two Billion Informal Economy Workers A WIEGO Network Global Solidarity Platform


Informal economy workers’ organizations across the global economy call on governments at all levels to partner with us on relief, recovery and resilience efforts that are emerging from the grassroots during this time of unprecedented crisis.

Informal Economy Workers Are — and Have Always Been — Essential Workers

Street vendors and market traders are a crucial link to food security and basic necessities, especially for the poorest segments of society. Waste pickers / recyclers provide sanitation and solid waste services that contribute to public health, lower landfill costs and a healthier environment. Domestic workers are on the frontlines of meeting hygiene standards and providing care, including for the sick and elderly. Home-based workers keep supply chains running and are sewing masks and medical coveralls for the frontline workers.

Economies everywhere depend on our work

The Global Economy Can’t Recover Without Us Lockdowns and other restrictions to contain COVID-19 are negatively impacting 81% of the world’s 3.3 billion workers, according to the International Labour Organization. Fully 61% of that global workforce — some two billion workers — are informally employed. In developing countries we make up 90% of total employment.

Economies Must Be Reset to Align with Core Principles of Inclusion

The COVID-19 crisis has drawn the world’s attention to longstanding inequalities in the way governments and industry deal with the world’s massive informal workforce. The International Domestic Workers’ Federation, StreetNet International, HomeNet South Asia, HomeNet Southeast Asia, HomeNet Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers — as members of the WIEGO Network — urge policymakers to implement the following principles in all their emergency relief and recovery actions, and in their strategies to manage public health and economic activity: